Goals from Luke Higham, Danny Shaw and Neil Kengni mean Marine go into Christmas at the top of the league, following a 3-2 win over Newcastle Town. 

Injuries meant that the Mariners were without Alex Doyle and George Newell, meaning newly appointed vice-captain James Barrigan, as well as Dean Winnard and Ryan Wignall came in to the starting 11. 

Marine started brightly, instantly peppering Owen Mooney’s goal, as Barrigan’s right-footed cross was met by Winnard, but the Castle’s goalkeeper made a fantastic stop to deny the centre half.  

On 23 minutes, the table toppers took the lead, when Neil Kengni’s low cross was met at the near post by Wignall, with the midfielder’s effort striking the frame of the goal.  

Recent signing Luke Higham, however, was on hand at the back post to fire his effort into the roof of the net, giving Marine the lead.  

Newcastle managed to level the scores before half time though, with midfielder Jack Van Den Lann finding space 20 yards from goal, sending his driven effort past Bayleigh Passant. 

The Mariners dominated much of the first half, attacking freely through Kengni, Wignall and Owen Watkinson. Barrigan’s free kicks also provided dangerous moments for the home side.  

At half time, Neil Young would have been happy with his team’s performance, enjoying the majority of the ball and creating several chances. Marine could have had three or four goals in the first half, if not for a lack of ruthlessness in front of goal, and a stellar performance from Mooney in goal.  

Ten minutes into the second half, Marine regained the lead, after yet another inviting delivery from Barrigan was this time met by Danny Shaw, who nodded in from close range to score his second goal of the season.  

Kengni doubled Marine’s advantage after 70 minutes through a very tidy finish with his weaker foot.  

Grabbing his second assist of the match, Barrigan lofted the ball over the top of the defence for Kengni to run on to, before lobbing Mooney on the half volley to make it 3-1. Marine’s top goal scorer now has 12 for the season. 

Wignall put in a brilliant performance in midfield and on another day may have scored a goal or two, but his energy and persistence was evident throughout the match.  

In the dying moments of the game, William Lloyd pulled one back for Newcastle, firing in from close range to bring the scores to 3-2.  

But Marine held on, extending their fantastic home record to nine wins out of nine in the league, and go into Christmas unbeaten at home in all competitions.  

After Christmas, the Mariners will welcome Bootle to the Marine Travel Arena, with yet another bumper crowd expected.  

The Bucks currently sit in eighth, having beaten Mossley 3-0 in their last game.  

Attendance: 1018 

Marine: Passant, Hayde, Higham (Solomon-Davies), Howarth, Shaw, Winnard (McNally), Watkinson (Reilly), Barrigan, Lynch, Wignall, Kengni 

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