Marine manager Neil Young has raised concerns over his side’s form in front of goal as they embark on an important 2023.
The Mariners had Bayleigh Passant to thank on Boxing Day as his penalty save denied Warrington Town the lead as they went on to draw 0-0.
Marine remain fourth after the point as they sit within six points of league leaders South Shields. Reflecting on the stalemate, Young was happy with a point at Cantilever Park.
He told Off The Park: “If you look at the game, it was definitely a good point. To go there and get a point at any time is good, particularly with their record over the last few years, I think they’ve made the playoffs, barring COVID, over the last four or five [years].
“Our performance wasn’t up to the standard, particularly our first-half performance and I’m sure Warrington – based on their first-half performance – thought they should’ve won the game and that’s probably correct. But we took a point, we take that, look to improve and move on.
“I think the main thing was our intensity, our game is getting at teams and getting on the front foot and we didn’t do that, didn’t get close, Buckley-Ricketts caused us a lot of problems, done well, as did their midfield players,” he continued touching upon what didn’t meet their expectation on Boxing Day.
“It was the first-half really, I thought the second-half we tweaked a little, changed a little bit and got into the game but just our intensity wasn’t at the standard, didn’t get close to people and we let them dictate the game far too much.
“They missed a penalty, which was a definite penalty, and missed a couple of good opportunity so to go in at half-time 0-0, we were grateful, we did improve after the game.
To kick off the new year, Marine entertain Rylands as both of the teams who were promoted from the Northern Premier League West go head-to-head at the Marine Travel Arena.
Young’s side were below-par in their previous meeting as a single goal proved to be the difference in favour of the Blues.
The Mariners boss believes the focus needs to be on his side and ensuring they’re firing on all cylinders.
“They’ve both got good teams, good squads, experienced players, Rylands got some different options, Kelly [N’Mai] is a good player but likes to come in the pockets to get on the ball where Buckley-Ricketts like to get in behind but both very good players,” he said.
“We’ve just got to be us, we talk about the opposition quite a bit, we’ve got to respect them but we’ve also got to impose ourselves and our good players on the opposition, that’s what we didn’t do at Warrington Town. We didn’t impose our good players and good play on them and became too passive.
“It’s the next game, we’ve trained well, worked well, the players have been told, as they were at half-time, they’re under no illusion of my disappointment in the first-half performance in particular, second wasn’t great but it was better.
“We know where we’re at but it’s a big time for football clubs, particularly in our league, Northern Premier League is close from top to about 16th, three points can change a lot and I’m sure clubs now are looking at strengthening here, there and everywhere, we’re looking to do the same.
“It’s difficult to do that, we know what we want but we can’t get them in at the minute. Warrington Rylands is the next test, a tough test and we have to be ready for it.”
Marine scored three against Lancaster City prior to the enforced break but have since scored once in their last two matches (1-2 vs Marske United and 0-0 vs Warrrington Town).
Jack Dunn suffered a season-ending knee injury but Young is adamant that the work will continue but has a message for his squad.
He said: “I don’t think the draw was disappointing but the performance at Warrington, if you ask 95 per cent of teams, probably 100 per cent, if you go away from home to Warrington Town over the Christmas period, you take a point, you’re more than happy.
“I’m not too disappointed in the point, I’m disappointed in the performance and Marske we went there with a much-changed team, pitch was terrible and again, we should’ve won the game but we didn’t take opportunities – that’s my biggest concern at the moment.
“We’re not scoring enough goals, losing Jack was a massive blow and trying to find that forward now that will give us that extra little bit is proving difficult.
“We have to keep looking, we’ve got to keep knocking on doors but the main thing for the players is to take responsibility for your own performances, that was the key message I’ve been drilling home to them after Marske and Warrington Town that they’ve got to take responsibility for their own performance, it isn’t just going to happen.”