Three second half goals in the space of seven minutes helped Marine on their way to a 3-1 victory over playoff-pushing Runcorn Linnets.  

Four forwards started the match, with Owen Watkinson and Niall Cummins coming in to join Neil Kengni and George Newell in attack. Mark Howarth and Danny Shaw started as a centre back pairing in a back four.  

Early big chances predominantly fell to the visitors, with James Steele and Ryan Brooke failing to convert big chances to open the scoring.  

Brooke would hardly have been able to believe he didn’t put Linnets 1-0 up, after his header rattled the frame of the goal from close range.  

Watkinson had a penalty shout after a collision with Alex Downes, but his appeals were waved away by referee Matthew McQuillan.  

A half time switch saw Josh Solomon-Davies replace Watkinson, with Neil Young reverting back to a more familiar 5-2-3 formation, as Kyle Hayde tucked into right centre back.  

Just after the hour mark, we finally had the first goal of the evening.  

James Barrigan, who had come on in place of Alex Doyle, stood over a free kick 35 yards from goal and right of centre. Aiming for the back post, Barrigan’s delivery evaded everyone, and the goalkeeper had no time to react, meaning that the substitute had opened the scoring in spectacular fashion.  

The Mariners doubled their lead just three minutes later, after an excellent piece of unselfish forward play saw Cummins square the ball to Newell, who scored his third goal since returning to the Marine Travel Arena.  

Now with an extra swagger to their game, Marine continued to widen the score line, once again coming from a Barrigan free kick.  

This time the goal scorer turned provider, as Cummins got in on the act to head Marine into a three-goal lead.  

Now in firm control of the game, Marine could afford to play on the counterattack, with Linnets pushing more men forward in search of a comeback-inspiring goal.  

Chances began to come regularly for the Mariners, with Kengni in search of a goal. However, Marine’s top goal scorer was ultimately unable to add to his 11 for the season.  

Brooke pulled a goal back for Runcorn in the 90th minute, meeting Iwan Murray’s cross on the half volley to deny Bayleigh Passant of a clean sheet.  

However, it was too little too late for the visitors, who had to accept a 3-1 defeat, with Marine extending their league form to eight consecutive home wins.  

After a slow first half, Neil Young will be pleased with how his side responded in the second, with the introduction of Barrigan proving inspirational for the league leaders.  

Next up for Marine is another home match, this time welcoming Newcastle Town. Goals from Kengni, Doyle and Watkinson gave Marine a 3-1 win over the Castle in the opening match of the season, with Saturday’s visitors currently sitting 15th in the table.  

Attendance: 1086 

Marine: Passant, Hayde, Higham, Lynch, Shaw, Howarth, Watkinson (Solomon-Davies), Doyle (Barrigan), Cummins, Newell (Wignall), Kengni  

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