ALAN Marriott is still not sure if his torturous season will have a fairytale Wembley ending after blaming himself for both Gateshead goals in today’s 3-2 win.
The classy keeper missed six months with a groin injury and then broke a finger in his comeback game.
Stags fans were delighted to see him back today, but Marriott knows Neil Collett is still a genuine rival for the Wembley shirt.
Marriott said: “Truthfully I didn’t enjoy it one bit today.
“The first goal was my mistake and for the second I probably should have come and got the cross.
“It was my first full game for six months. It is difficult to get games with no reserve team. I push myself in training but it’s not the same as playing.
“I can only apologise to the fans for making two howlers. David Grof has set the standards recently and I have got to reach those levels.
“There is another game next week and me and Neil Collett pushing for the Wembley place. Neil did really well at Wimbledon on Friday so I have not really done myself any favours today.
“You have to take the positives out of games and I have 90 minutes under my belt and I did come and take the crosses in the second half.
“A put a bit of strapping over my finger today so I could use that as an excuse, but I don’t think anyone would believe me. The break is now healed though it is still swollen and could stay that way for eight months.
“It was important to win today as it does stay in the minds of supporters throughout the summer.”
He added: “It was a bit of a dull end of season game and both teams didn’t look interested then for the last 15 minutes suddenly everyone lit the touch paper and it all went off.
“The management were very positive in the dressing room at half-time, saying apart from the two goals, there had been nothing between the teams so go out and get at them.
“We had the wind behind us down the slope and when we saw Gateshead look tired and disinterested we thought we would get a goal.
“A lot of people don’t give the gaffer any credit but he decided to try something different today with the formation and it worked a treat. That is why Adam Murray is captain – he inspires you.”