WARRINGTON Rylands' promotion hopes have come to an end with a play-off semi-final defeat.

Blues were beaten by Marine on Tuesday night, with Sol Solomon's goal in the early stages of the second half enough to send the Merseysiders through to face Macclesfield in Monday's play-off final.

Former Blues loanee Owen Robinson was central to the goal that ended his old club's hopes, jinking his way into the box before finding Solomon to slot home.

Rylands struggled to find a meaningful response and while they can reflect on a huge overachievement to even reach the top five, their bid to join neighbours Warrington Town in the National League North will have to wait at least another season.

Rylands: Pilling, Smith, Swaby-Neavin, Neild, Butler, Furman, Hardcastle (Duffy), Hough (Baillie), Pedro, Touray, Burns (Cockerline). Subs not used: Brockbank, Curran-Nicholls

Read Matt Turner's verdict on the action below

THE rollercoaster that is Warrington Rylands’ 2023-24 season has finally ground to a halt.

It has been quite the campaign in every respect – off the field, they have been hit with everything from the not ideal to the downright scandalous but on it, they have sustained the unlikeliest of promotion challenges.

When it came to the crunch, however, the play-off campaign proved to be a bridge too far.

It cannot be denied that Marine deserved their victory on the night – they controlled the vast majority of what was a tight and nervy affair that was always likely to be settled by one goal.

While it may have been a stretch to say Sol Solomon’s pivotal strike three minutes after the break had been “coming” – it had taken until first-half injury time for either side to create so much as a half-chance – the hosts had looked the more likely.

Scoring goals has not been an issue for Rylands of late – only once in their previous 16 games had they failed to find the net – but they struggled to get anything going by way of a response.

Their sole shot on target was a Djavan Pedro header just before the hour mark that was comfortable for Marine stopper Bobby Jones.

Before then, their most promising moments had come via counter-attacks as they found themselves pushed onto the back foot, although they dealt with the majority of what was thrown at them well. It is a struggle to remember Luke Pilling having to do much other than pick the ball out of his net.

It is a disappointing end to the campaign in the context of the semi-final itself, but Rylands can reflect with pride at what their squad have produced on the field.

They have had plenty thrown at them, not least the departures of top goalscorer Adama Sidibeh and manager Michael Clegg, and that was before the chaotic and, in many eyes, poorly handled hiring and firing of Sam Wilson as permanent manager.

Through it all, though, they have maintained a challenge to go out of a league that is notoriously difficult to escape from.

All at the club will no doubt be glad to have a break from football for a while although there are decisions to make, not least the appointment of a new manager to take them into next season.

There will be an increase of expectation when play resumes again, but for now they can only reflect on the most eventful of seasons.