Warrington Rylands show off playoff credentials as Marine suffer in defeat

DJ Pedro celerates scoring for Warrington Rylands.

Warrington Rylands strengthened their place in the Northern Premier League playoffs with a 2-0 win over Marine. 

Two former Mariners came back to haunt Neil Young’s side as Mo Touray and DJ Pedro were on target to move the Blues eight points clear in the top five. 

Two of the Northern Premier League promotion hopefuls went head-to-head looking to make it maximum points from a gruelling Bank Holiday schedule. Morpeth Town were the latest team to suffer at the hands of Rylands as their unbeaten run stretched to six matches with a 3-1 win.  

Marine, on the other hand, picked up a hard-earned three points after Sol Solomon’s goal was enough to beat Matlock Town. 

With the teams around them playing against each other, it was an opportunity for either Rylands or Marine to stamp their mark in the playoff race. 

READ MORE: Sam Wilson ‘proud’ after Warrington Rylands triumph over Marine

READ MORE: Neil Young responds to Warrington Rylands defeat as Marine playoff verdict given

And it was the Blues that drew first blood when Touray raced through one-on-one and sent Bobby Jones the wrong way. An incisive pass from James Neild split the Mariners defence open, allowing the former striker to bear down on goal as he made no mistake in applying the finish. 

The game lacked any real spectacle as both sides battled to earn a foothold in midfield but Rylands were largely comfortable with their lead at the break. 

Following the restart, they were almost immediately pegged back. Fin Sinclair-Smith fizzed an effort past the far post after superb play down the left, Bobby Grant was sliding in at the back post but couldn’t get on the end of the cross-cum-shot. 

However, Wilson’s side doubled their lead after pouncing on a slip in the Marine backline. The visitors misfortune benefitted Pedro who took one touch before rifling home. 

Marine offered some resistance when substitute Owen Windsor fizzed an effort wide, while Matty Water was denied – forcing Luke Pilling into a superb save, diving full-stretched to his right. 

Sol Solomon thundering off the post late on encapsulated a difficult afternoon for the Crosby club. Their cushion in the playoffs was reduced to just three points – following Ashton United’s 2-0 win at FC United of Manchester. 

Butler brilliant in battling Blues’ defensive display

It felt like Rylands had two shots on goals which resulted in both goals – but the Blues will not mind that. 

Touray and Pedro will steal the headlines for their goals, the former scooping the Player of the Match award, but the flavour of the afternoon was the defence for the hosts. 

The backline of Clive Smith, James Butler, captain James Neild and Javid Swamy-Neavin kept Marine’s eye-catching front three at bay. 

In particular, although arguably wrong to single the defence out, Butler put on a mature and dominant performance at the back. The former Stoke City defender arrived at Gorsey Lane as an unknown entity but highly-rated by then-manager Michael Clegg. 

And on Saturday, he showed why he was so highly rated at the Trotters – robbed of a move from the Championship club to Fleetwood by COVID. Butler was everywhere and equal to the searching cross-field passes from the Mariners as they looked for an avenue over the top. 

Bitter pill for in-form Marine

The celebrations at full-time from Rylands would’ve been like rubbing salt into a wound for the Marine players as they trudged off the sodden Gorsey Lane pitch. 

With four games left they still find themselves with a playoff spot firmly in their grasp. After picking up three wins in as many games, it would be hard to be critical, particularly after a intense clash with Matlock but there will be a feeling of regret that they couldn’t lay siege to one of their rivals. 

Both sides couldn’t be separated in their Boxing Day meeting. While their clash then was a stalemate, this time around, it was more of a chess match.

Neil Young’s side had the majority of the play and dictated the play but in the final third, when it mattered, they couldn’t fashion more than a couple of chances as the Rylands defence won the battle. The best of which coming through Solomon late on – in a brilliantly worked passage of play. 

Marine will have to dust themselves down for the visit of Morpeth Town on Saturday. This weekend marks the penultimate home match of the campaign as the margin for error becomes narrower and narrower. 

[Featured image: Warrington Rylands – Mark Percy]

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