Marine manager Neil Young says the defeat to Warrington Rylands and the previous three matches have been an eye-opener for him after some players “wilted”.
A 2-0 loss to Rylands saw them lose grasp of top spot as Workington ran out 4-2 winners away to 1874 Northwich, seeing them move second for the first time in eight match days.
The game featured few clear-cut chances but wasn’t short of needle and intensity as David McNabb’s side continued their winning run.
Callum Dolan sealed three points in the dying embers after David Webb’s free-kick moments after the restart gave the visitors the lead.
The visit of the FA Vase holders marked the return to action for Neil Young’s side since their New Year’s Day win over Prescot Cables.
However, the problems in the recent run became apparent in their second home defeat of the season.
“It’s been us over the last three games to be honest, lacking quality and want to give teams goals. I think the free-kick, first of all we shouldn’t give the free-kick away, been sloppy in possession then, I don’t know, I think it should be saved, it’s on that side but might be doing Bayleigh an injustice, I need to see it again,” he told Off The Park speaking after the defeat.
“The second goal is another mistake, that’s been us. Bootle three goals [are] mistakes when you’re in tough games, I said to the lads there you only have to look at Rylands’ celebrations at the end of the game to know what it means to opposition coming here and can we handle that pressure?
“It doesn’t look like we have at the minute, we’ve lost a lot of players in recent weeks and months in terms of availability but you’ve got to get on with it, too many there today wilted when we needed them.
“Anger’s probably [the word]. We’re trying to win the league, we’ve threw our cup run last year, been top of the league, getting good crowds, everyone’s talking about us so when people come here or we play them at their place they want to beat us, have they got that extra zip in their step to want to beat us and I think that’s been proven in the last three games.
“Although we beat Prescot that could’ve gone either way, we’ve got to stay in games, we should’ve stayed in the Bootle game, they were the better team if we stayed in the game it could’ve went either way until we gave away sloppy goals.
“We haven’t scored, we scored one at Prescot in the last three, which is worrying but being as offensive as we’ve got but ultimately you’ve got to be strong in the mind to play in these types of games and we’ve lacked that a little bit which in some instances of people and players is disappointing.”
Brian Richardson’s Bootle side made the short journey to Rossett Park and inflicted their first home defeat for the Mariners in a comprehensive 3-0 win.
Saturday’s defeat saw the Rylands captain and goalkeeper Graeme McCall rarely sprung into action. Barring a superb save from the shot-stopper, by in large it was easy pickings.
For Young, there is a glaring problem and one he is actively looking to instill as well as rectify.
He continued: “What’s got to change is I’ve told them in there not shouting and screaming, it’s cold hard facts. I’ve been in this position before I’ve won leagues, I’ve got promotions, I’ve been in play-offs and all those good things so I’ve got the experience of it.
“But ultimately you’ve got to know when you put your team out there that you’ve got 11 warriors out there that are going to go [out and fight], they don’t have to have the best game of football because the pitches don’t allow you to at the moment, what you’ve got to know is what you’re getting out of them.
“The biggest problem I’ve got at the moment with some is you don’t know what you’re going to get out of them, you’re giving them opportunities, chances, you only have to look at our bench today [Steven Irwin, David Lynch, Ryan Wignall, Lewis Reilly, Niall Cummins] to see the quality of the players on the bench.
“People might be saying why aren’t they playing? At this moment in time it’s personnel, got no left-back not for the want of trying, we’ve tried to bring left-backs in six or seven now for various reasons that’s not happened.
“I need to know when I put 11 players on the pitch psychologically and mentally they’re ready for the battle and some of us at this moment are wilting and we are a young side so that does come with it now and again.
“Today and the last three games has been a bit of an eye-opener and the fact how quickly we’ve wilted when we’ve come under pressure in certain people.”
The first-half saw two talking points for both sides as the referee dismissed appeals for seemingly stone-wall penalties.
Neil Kengni saw his goal-bound effort strike the arm of the Rylands defender while Kane Drummond was bundled over as he managed a sight on goal.
Both of which the 46-year-old believes should’ve been given.
“[Kengni’s] Looked a penalty from where I am, but I’m going to say that I haven’t seen it back. The inconsistency for both teams, let’s not get away from the fact I thought they should’ve had a penalty at the top end, I thought they was definitely a penalty.
“Again, I’m a bit closer to that. I thought they were both penalties but I’d like to see them back but I thought theirs was definitely a penalty.”
Consistency in the Marine backline has been a recurring problem this season for the Mariners.
Danny Shaw and Connor Teale featured as the two central defenders in the backline but without a recognised left-back, it left a gap for Marine.
“It’s swing and roundabouts. We’ve got no Alex Doyle, no left-back which is big for us in terms of how we play. We’re very heavy at the top end hence why we go with three, you’ve got George Newell, Owen Watkinson, Neil Kengni, Niall Cummins, Lewis Reilly you know firepower.
“But we’re playing three of them put Mark [Howarth] in midfield because we thought we lacked quality getting the ball to the front lads so we’ve put Mark there because he’s one of the best passers at the club, we’ve not really got him in the game.
“Instruction-wise we’ve asked them to play very narrow they haven’t done that, they’ve played wide which we didn’t want because we wanted to pin their three centre-backs in so they couldn’t come out. The other thing is we give them a lot of information, have we given them too much? I don’t know.”
The Marine boss confirmed that new additions will be coming through the door with one set to be in place for Tuesday whilst others will be added for Kendal Town, he continued: “But we’ve got a lot of work to do, we’ve gone second now, we need to bring some players in that’s obvious and that will happen.
“There will be one in for Tuesday but won’t name names because the paperwork’s not done, we’ll be pushing on not so much for Tuesday but definitely for Kendal next Saturday.”
The games come thick and fast for Marine and they have an opportunity to put the wrongs of Rylands behind them when Mossley visit.
However, it’ll be far from easy, a win would see Marine return to the top and Young has heaped importance on the clash.
“[It’s a] Massive game and they’re a good side. I watched them against Rylands last week and you think Rylands were up for it today, they were up for it at Rylands last week.
“We’ve spoken to a number of people about Mossley, we haven’t played them yet I’ve seen them twice and a lot of people saying they’re the best team they’ve seen, they were very good for an hour last week and were much the better team against Rylands so we’ve got a real tough game on and if we’re not ready for it or not in the right frame of mind for it or up for the battle we’ll get beat.”