‘Outstanding’ performance by March Town as they secure victory over Norwich United in memorable FA Cup tie
- Credit: Archant
March Town manager Brett Whaley hailed an “outstanding” performance from his players after securing a memorable FA Cup homecoming.
Whaley rallied his troops to a 2-1 victory over Norwich United at the GER on Saturday, marking their return to the competition following a seven-year absence in style.
Craig Gillies and Jack Friend netted the decisive goals in their side's extra preliminary round tie, although it was far from easy in windy conditions.
"I don't think it helped them and certainly didn't help us, and it made the game scrappy," Whaley said.
"We started the season well, but I thought we still didn't play the football we are capable of.
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"We haven't played at our best, but the boys have been fantastic; I'm delighted."
March took a sixth-minute lead courtesy of Gillies' low finish, but the Hares were pegged back midway through the first-half.
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The hosts were reduced to 10 men after Toby Allen's high challenge just after the break, before Jack Friend converted an exquisite chip soon after, and Whaley was pleased with the team's response.
"If you're talking about one moment, it has to be the goal straight after the sending-off," he said.
"It was slightly reckless, but he didn't know the player was there.
"I felt the boys came together, and then the goal comes and it gave us the confidence to think 'we can win this'.
"When we had that goal, the shape, work rate and effort was outstanding."
March look ahead to entertaining either Wellingborough Town or Eynesbury Rovers on August 24, but Whaley is keeping level-headed and urges his team to focus on more important matters.
"We won't look at the game for a couple of weeks, purely because we've got two very important league games coming up," he added.
"Sheringham (at home, 3pm) will be a real test next Saturday and we won't look past that.
"We then go to King's Lynn Reserves, get that out the way and then we'll concentrate.
"The consistency of this squad is what lets us down, and if we start looking too far ahead and getting excited, we'll fall over."