NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Successful start for new March Town boss as promotion remains the goal

PUBLISHED: 08:38 11 February 2020

Craig Gillies struck twice as March Town won at Needham Market Reserves last Saturday. Picture: IAN CARTER

Craig Gillies struck twice as March Town won at Needham Market Reserves last Saturday. Picture: IAN CARTER


The man in charge might have changed – but the target certainly hasn’t.

Arran Duke (right) has succeeded Brett Whaley (left) as March Town manager. Picture: IAN CARTERArran Duke (right) has succeeded Brett Whaley (left) as March Town manager. Picture: IAN CARTER

New boss Arran Duke toasted victory in his first match in the March Town hotseat at the end of what he described as a 'whirlwind' week.

The Hares remain three points outside the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North top four following a 4-2 success at Needham Market Reserves last Saturday which featured a brace from Craig Gillies.

And Duke insists that gaining promotion very much remains the goal despite the sudden exit of previous boss Brett Whaley to Fenland rivals Wisbech Town early last week.

Duke, who had been Whaley's assistant, said: "I got a call from the chairman last Monday night telling me Brett had gone and asking if I would take the job on.

"I had no hesitation in saying 'yes' and we have tried to keep disruption to a minimum.

"It has come out of the blue, but I wouldn't have taken the job if I didn't believe I could achieve promotion.

"We have a very good squad for this level of football. It's maybe under-achieving at the moment but the plan is very much to ensure by the end of the season we have achieved our goal.

"We've not really been consistent enough all season and that's the thing we really need now.

"It was a whirlwind week for the club, but the lads kept their focus on the job in hand and it was a very pleasing result on Saturday.

"Needham Market Reserves had only lost one home game all season, but we went there and got a great result.

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"We got the ball down and played good football, while the attitude and work rate were exceptional.

"I asked the players to do themselves and the supporters proud. They did that and I'm sure they will continue to do it too."

March twice had to come from behind to triumph at Needham Market.

They conceded against the run of play midway through the first half, but they soon responded through Gillies.

The hosts regained the lead before the break, but March upped the ante in the second half.

Danny Emmington levelled before Dylan Edge pounced to complete the turnaround when putting away a rebound after Gillies had seen his penalty crash back off the bar.

But Gillies did succeed in finding the net again - for the 25th time this season - to seal the points with 10 minutes to go.

The Hares are back on the road tonight (Tuesday) when they go to higher-level Newmarket Town for a Cambs Invitation Cup semi-final, 7.45pm.

And they have another away date in the First Division North when going to struggling Haverhill Borough this Saturday, 3pm.

Duke, who previously spent a decade as Wisbech St Mary manager, has appointed injured captain Max Mattless and Under 18 chief Mark Warren as his assistants.

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