Bartlett reflects on a season of “progress” but also frustration after March Town United lose against Debenham LC

Chris Bartlett. Picture: Barry Giddings.

Chris Bartlett. Picture: Barry Giddings. - Credit: Archant

March Town United manager Chris Bartlett has given his assessment of the season: “Steady progress but could have done a lot better.”

The Hares looked on course for a top five Thurlow Nunn First Division finish but losses in their last three matches has seen them end the campaign in eighth.

On Saturday, they were unlucky to lose 1-0 at Debenham LC in a game where several key refereeing decisions went against them.

Bartlett said: “It has been a really disappointing last three games, especially the last two with those narrow defeats.

“We could have, should have got something out the game. We deserved to. There was a blatant penalty - even the other team’s players agreed it was a penalty - which the referee didn’t give, and we had a goal wrongly disallowed.

“The players were really disappointed in the changing room afterwards.”

Reflecting on the Hares season, Bartlett says losing key players at the tail-end of the campaign dealt his side a big blow.

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He said: “We lost some real quality players, who have made a massive impact at the club. It’s very difficult to replace those types of players. Without them, we were stretched and our form dipped.”

Bartlett added: “If I was giving a report, I would say we’ve made steady progress, but we could have done much better, Ultimately, we’re disappointed with our finishing position because it doesn’t reflect what we are capable of.”

Bartlett is hopeful he will be able to keep the bulk of his squad together, but he believes his side’s difficult end to the season has reinforced the need to strengthen his hand.

He said: “We’ve got to see who we will retain. I’ve been in management long enough to never be certain of something until someone signs on the dotted line.

“What these last few weeks has shown is that we do need to strengthen the squad.”