Marine’s league season ends in disappointing fashion, as a 3-1 home defeat to Leek Town confirms playoff trip to Workington on Tuesday.
Losing Dean Winnard in the warmup, Olly Muir made his return to the starting 11, partnering James Devine at the back. Josh Solomon-Davies and Joe White also came in at full back, allowing James Barrigan to push forward into his preferred midfield position.
With the two teams still jostling for league position within the playoffs, the away side made the brighter start, as Daniel Trickett-Smith forced an early save out of Bayleigh Passant.
Just two minutes later, however, Leek took the lead in spectacular fashion, as Tom Edge fired a thunderous 20-yard effort into the top corner.
The Mariners pushed for the leveller and had a great opportunity to equalise, but Lewis Reilly was unable to steer Barrigan’s whipped cross past Daniel Roberts in Leek’s goal.
Ammar Dyer had a half-hearted shout for a penalty denied in the 22nd minute as he went down in the presence of Devine, but referee Anthony Ball saw nothing in it.
Leek’s advantage was doubled on 34 minutes when a defensive mix-up involving Passant allowed Trickett-Smith the opportunity to loft the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper, punishing Marine for a slow start to the game.
Before half time, Marine’s misery compiled when Tim Grice rolled the ball into an exposed goal from inside the penalty area.
As well as losing Ben Hughes to injury in the first half, Muir was also unable to continue in the second half, with Luke Clark coming on to fill in at the back.
Into the second half, the game fell slightly flat, with a lack of clear-cut chances contributing to a low-quality half.
Jack Dunn looked to provide life to the side after coming on in the first half, but most of his creative flashes came to nothing.
Neil Kengni, who was the brightest spark for Marine, had a chance to cut the deficit, but was unable to beat Roberts with his dinked effort.
Towards the closing stages of the match, Barrigan tried his luck from range, gathering a decent amount of power but without the direction to test the Leek goal.
Dunn provided the Lilywhites with a consolation goal deep into injury time with a goal of the season contender, smashing a rocket-like free kick into the top left corner from the right of the box.
Moments later, the final whistle sounded, calling an end to the match and Marine’s league season in the NPL West, as the playoffs loom.
Results elsewhere mean that Marine will make the long trip to Workington on Tuesday night, as Warrington Rylands are crowned champions.
Marine: Passant, Solomon-Davies, White, Lynch, Muir (Clark), Devine, Hughes (Dunn), Doyle, Reilly (Cummins), Barrigan, Kengni