Downham Town 1 - 4 March Town United - Hares bounce back from loss of Woods with four goal show

Chris Bartlett. Picture: Steve Williams.

Chris Bartlett. Picture: Steve Williams. - Credit: Archant

March Town United manager Chris Bartlett says the loss of star striker Dan Woods has left a “massive hole” at the club.

Woods bagged 26 goals in 35 games for the Hares, earning himself the players’ and supporters’ player of the year, but work commitments have meant he’s had to leave the club.

He tweeted: “I would like to thank everyone at March Town United Football Club for making me feel welcome and helping me have my best ever goal return during last season.

“The club has a top manager, supportive chairmen and quality lads on the pitch. I hope you achieve promotion, you deserve it!”

The blow of losing Woods has been slightly softened by Juliano Menezes’ return to the club.

Bartlett said: “Dan has changed job and is now working Saturdays, which means home games are difficult and away games nigh-on impossible for him.

“He’s a committed lad - he’s not someone who is going to pick and choose his games. It leaves a massive hole in the changing room - he had a positive effect on the other players - but that’s the nature of football. Sometimes you lose good players.

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“Juliano has returned and I would have liked to play them together but this gives other players the opportunity to grab a starting spot.”

On the pitch, March shipped two points in a 2-2 home draw with Braintree Town Reserves on Saturday. With just four minutes played, Jordan Goult slid in to convert a Dan Woods corner.

Then chance after chance went begging and towards the end of the half the visitors got closer with each attack and evened it up.

The second half saw March race out of the blocks - on 46 minutes, Matt Barber volleyed home from just inside the box.

But the visitors pulled level again with a penalty.

However, it was a more pleasing result on Tuesday night - Matthew Cox, Barber, Ondre Odain and Ash Brand scored in a 4-1 win at Downham Town.

Bartlett said: “It was really disappointing to drop two points on Saturday. Their first goal was blatantly offside and not one single player appealed for their penalty, which I think is the biggest indicator it should not have been given.

“The Downham result was pleasing. It was not particularly pretty - we should have gone behind but Dave Beeny made an excellent save - but we scored just before half time and posed more of a threat in the second half.

“There was a 20 minute spell when we were ruthless on the counter attack.”

Up next for March, who are 11th in the Thurlow Nunn First Division, is an away day on Saturday at third placed Wivenhoe Town.

Jordan Fiddes is doubtful with a thigh strain but Menezes should be available.

Bartlett said: “We’ve shown a lot of character away from home, although not enough quality. If we can get a foothold in the game and not fall behind I quite fancy our chances. It will be a tough encounter but we’ll go there and compete well.”