Dean Winnard’s first goal of the season was cancelled out by a late Ryan Brooke equaliser, as Marine were held at Runcorn Linnets.  

A returning Kyle Hayde started at left wing back for the Mariners, allowing Kengni to start up front alongside Lewis Reilly. Alex Doyle also came into the starting line-up, in place of Ryan Wignall.  

In what was rather a scrappy first half, both sides rarely carved out clear cut chances. Marine looked to send Kengni on his way down the flanks when hitting Linnets on the counter, but to no avail.  

Joe White enjoyed a competitive battle with Ryan Brooke, with the two taking it in turns to better the other.  

Warning signs for the Lilywhites came in the form of link up play between Brooke, Joe Lynch and Tom Marsh-Hughes, with Lynch firing a volley over the bar from 20 yards.  

Marine’s first half chance fell to Steve Irwin, as he connected with Hayde’s cross to strike an acrobatic attempt on goal, but Scott Reed saved comfortably in the Linnets goal.  

As has been the case in recent weeks, corners from vice-captain James Barrigan proved threatening, and it was from one of his outswingers that the opening goal came.  

Barrigan drilled his delivery in towards the penalty spot, with Mark Howarth rising highest to meet it, flicking on for Dean Winnard to finish from close range. This goal was Winnard’s first since joining the club, in his 17th Marine appearance.  

Defensively, the Mariners were resolute, limiting Runcorn’s danger men to long-range efforts, as Lynch and Eden Gumbs tried their luck.  

At the halfway point of an evenly matched encounter, Neil Young would have been pleased to be in the lead, as neither side had really tested the opposition goalkeeper.  

Three minutes into the second half, Lewis Reilly had a half chance to score what would have been one of the goals of the season, but his half-volley, on-the-spin effort was blocked well by Alex Downes.  

Both sides then had shouts for penalties, as Irwin and Lynch went down in either box, but the referee waved play on for both occasions.  

Reilly had another good opportunity to make it 2-0 to the visitors, latching onto Howarth’s headed effort from inside the six-yard box, but Reed’s reaction save kept Linnets in the match. 

In the 88th minute, increasing pressure from the home side finally paid off, as they found the equaliser they had fought tirelessly for.  

Aidan Dowling came to collect a long ball into the box from ex-Mariner James Short, but was beaten to the ball by Brooke, who headed into the empty net to salvage a point for the playoff hopefuls.  

On reflection, a draw was probably a fair result, as both sides exchanged spells of pressure and possession.  

Manager Young can take positives from the match, such as getting more minutes into the legs of Alex Doyle, as well as welcoming Kyle Hayde back into the fold. Marine are now four games unbeaten. 

Next up for the Mariners is a trip to eighth-place Trafford, as they look to return to winning ways.  

Attendance: 735 

Marine line-up: Dowling, Hughes, Hayde, Howarth, White, Winnard, Irwin (Wignall), Doyle, Reilly (Devine), Barrigan, Kengni  

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