Craig Pritchard came off the bench to score a debut brace, as Marine beat Marske United 3-1 at The Marine Travel Arena.

James Barrigan opened the scoring for The Mariners after just five minutes, before Marske – who had beaten Marine 4-1 just seven days prior in the reverse fixture – equalised through Andrew Stephenson.

But substitute Pritchard scored twice in ten minutes late in the second half to seal all three points for the Crosby-based side.

The result means Marine move up to third in the league, five points behind leaders Workington with two games in hand.

How it happened

After the dismal defeat to Marske last week, Neil Young’s side were desperate to avoid another disappointing result against the same opponents today.

With the loss in North Yorkshire still fresh in the memory, Marine started the game immediately on the front foot.

Josh Woods, another debutant, curled over from the edge of the area after a sustained period of Marine pressure from the kick-off.

With Marske unable to escape their own half, Marine made their high-energy start count with the game just five minutes old.

Winger Barrigan clinically swept into the bottom right from 12 yards, after good work down the right-hand side from Brett Mbalanada.

The goal seemed to shock Marske into action, as they went straight down the other end and forced Shamal George into a decent save – the Liverpool loanee pushed Curtis Round’s 20-yard effort round the post.

With Marske already chasing the game, Marine looked to hit them on the counter.

Woods’ snap shot from 12 yards was well saved by Marske goalkeeper Jack Norton at his near post, before captain Kenny Strickland dragged a shot wide from range.

It would be Marske who would score next though, as Round’s dangerous cross was met by Andrew Stephenson, who was initially denied by a stunning George save before prodding in the rebound.

Chances continued to fall to both sides, and Marine had the ball in the net again after 25 minutes played, but an offside against Barrigan ruled out Mbalanada’s strike.

Following the goal though, Marske were in the ascendency, capitalising on some sloppy errors at the back from Marine.

Louis Johnson curled over for the visitors, before George was forced into a low save by Stephenson.

After a shaky ten-minute spell following the equaliser, Marine regained their composure, and Norton was called into action again as he palmed away Mbalanada’s drive from the corner of the box.

Moments later, there were calls for a red card as Marske captain scythed down Josh Solomon-Davies with an ugly challenge, but referee William Davis deemed a yellow card to be suitable punishment.

Solomon-Davies was proving to be a handy outlet at right-back, and he nearly gave Marine the lead on the stroke of half time – the defender won the ball on halfway and surged into the box, but sliced his shot well over the bar.

Following the interval, the chances for both sides dried up, as neither team managed to stamp their authority on the game.

With an hour gone, Marine boss Young swapped one debutant for another – introducing Pritchard in the place of young striker Woods.

The diminutive playmaker immediately showed some clever touches, but goalscoring chances remained at a premium.

The lack of quality in the final third was typified on 63 minutes – a mistake from Solomon-Davies gifted Marske a three-on-three scenario, but Johnson’s pass was wayward and the ball trickled harmlessly through to George.

With fifteen minutes left to play though, Pritchard grabbed his debut goal to end the stalemate.

Mbalanada looked to have spurned a brilliant opportunity for Marine when his pass was blocked, but the deflection played the ball into the path of Pritchard who poked home underneath Norton.

Some heroic defending from Marine followed the goal, as Marske looked for their second leveller of the match.

The game was put beyond all doubt though with four minutes left on the clock – Pritchard latched onto a ball down the left, and dribbled into the area before coolly slotting into the bottom corner.

In added time, the score line from last week was nearly repeated in Marine’s favour, as Mbalanada muscled a Marske defender off the ball to go one-on-one with Norton, but drilled his strike into ‘keepers’ legs.

The 418 supporters at the MTA would have to settle for 3-1 though, as the final whistle confirmed Marine would leapfrog their opponents in the league table.

What next

Marine travel to Trafford next week, as they look to push towards the top of the table.

Trafford currently sit in 8th position in the league, after beating Dunston 4-3 away from home today.