'I'm so proud' - Marine secure promotion dream

Marine manager Neil Young has hailed his players for the way they rose to the occasion to down Macclesfield in their own back yard and seal promotion to the National League North.

Having arrived at the club in 2018 with a CV which already included six promotions and further cup silverware, Monday's 2-1 win at the Leasing.com Stadium saw Young take the Mariners to the lofty heights of Step 2, in what is arguably his greatest managerial achievement to date.

Young also famously led Marine to a historic FA Cup third round tie with Marine in 2021.

Promoted from Step 4 in 2022, the Mariners wasted little time continuing their ascendancy up the football pyramid, thanks to their 2-1 victory at a Macclesfield side that were widely tipped to achieve similar honours before a ball was kicked this season.

Roared on by 1,200 travelling Marine supporters, Fin Sinclair-Smith opened the scoring from the penalty spot midway through the first half before Jack Bainbridge rifled home a second with little over 20 minutes to go.

Kane Drummond brought the Silkmen back into contention not long after, but despite being faced with wave after wave of Macclesfield pressure, Marine stood firm to earn themselves a second promotion in three seasons.

"I'm incredibly proud of the players, the supporters, the football club," Young said post-match.

"To achieve this in the way we have - to come to Macclesfield and win - is incredible, and I thought we were good value for the win to be honest.

"We had a game plan, and I asked [the players] to carry things out which would give them the best opportunity to win the game. Macclesfield are a good team with technical players, but we stuck at it and were unbelievable.

"If you get things right tactically and the lads are willing to put their bodies on the line, you're halfway there.

"To get promoted out of this league is massive, and I'm so proud of them."

Marine will enter the league above alongside champions Radcliffe, with a busy summer of on and on-field activity sure to be on the horizon.

Nevertheless, Young insists no plans have been put in place for tackling the National League North next term, and has instead urged his players to savour their play-off triumph.

He added: "I don't know what's next, I'll be honest.

"When you don't have the resources of everyone else, you've got to work that little bit harder as a manager. Believe me, it takes its toll!

"I always say, 'don't move on too fast'. It may never happen again, so I want everyone to enjoy the celebrations."

Photo credits: Sean Walsh & Darren Murphy

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