FA Vase display can spur us on, says March Town boss Chris Bartlett
PUBLISHED: 12:23 30 September 2016
March Town boss Chris Bartlett believes the attitude and commitment displayed during the club's FA Vase exit can help them climb the Thurlow Nunn League First Division table.
The Hares produced a pleasing performance against the odds when being pipped 3-2 by higher-level Gorleston in a second round qualifying tie last Saturday.
Bartlett could only call on a bare 11 players for the trip to the East coast with assistant manager Scott Beeny named as March’s only substitute even though he was carrying a knee injury.
But a change of system and approach sparked an upturn in performance with Lewis Thompson firing March level in the first half.
Hosts Gorleston struck twice in the second half to advance, but David Jackson halved March’s arrears during a late rally.
He lashed in a rebound off the underside of the bar after a Sean White shot had been tipped onto a post, and they came close to a dramatic leveller when Matt Barber headed just wide in stoppage time.
Bartlett said: “It obviously wasn’t ideal to be so short of players, but we were hit by a lot of unavailability for a variety of reasons.
“Players have to be registered by the Friday lunchtime to play in the Vase, so we couldn’t replace any late drop-outs.
“But I can only praise the outstanding effort of every player involved even though some had to play in positions that were a bit alien to them.
“We changed the system to 4-4-1-1 and it worked really well. We dug in, we battled hard and we stepped up to the plate.
“I really did fear the worst beforehand as we were facing a very good who are flying high in the division above us, but we came out of the game with our heads held high.
“Now we need to take this attitude, willingness and work ethic into our league games to try to climb the table.”
March entertain Cornard at the GER tomorrow (3pm) when there will be a familiar face back in the fold.
Left-winger Tom Flatters, who played for the club in the 2014/15 season, has returned following the demise of his previous side, Whittlesey Athletic.
Bartlett has also put in an approach for out-of-favour Wisbech Town midfielder Jack Brand.
Bartlett added: “Tom possesses plenty of quality and his return will give us a boost.
“We’ve slipped into the bottom four and we’ve got to dig ourselves out of there. Results matter more than performances at the moment.”