NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: March Town talents urged to relish the challenge of a crucial run of fixtures in promotion chase

PUBLISHED: 18:16 05 December 2019 | UPDATED: 18:16 05 December 2019

Craig Gillies opens the scoring as March Town returned to winning ways against Felixstowe & Walton United Reserves. Picture: IAN CARTER

Craig Gillies opens the scoring as March Town returned to winning ways against Felixstowe & Walton United Reserves. Picture: IAN CARTER

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Manager Brett Whaley has urged his March Town talents to play with freedom during a crucial run of games.

Craig Gillies celebrates his opening goal for March Town against Felixstowe & Walton United Reserves. Picture: IAN CARTERCraig Gillies celebrates his opening goal for March Town against Felixstowe & Walton United Reserves. Picture: IAN CARTER

The fifth-placed Hares are firmly in contention for promotion from the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North with the top four finishers all going up this season.

And Whaley's men face three of the four teams currently above them in their next four games.

The potentially season-defining spell begins at home to Norwich CBS this Saturday, 3pm, and also features a GER clash with second-placed Mulbarton Wanderers on December 21.

March then go to current leaders Downham Town in their final outing of 2019 on December 28.

Lewis Gibson on the charge for March Town as they saw off Felixstowe & Walton United Reserves. Picture: IAN CARTERLewis Gibson on the charge for March Town as they saw off Felixstowe & Walton United Reserves. Picture: IAN CARTER

"A spell of games against sides around us in the table is obviously going to be important," said Whaley.

"But it is a case of focusing on getting our performances right rather than worrying about who we are playing or the league table.

"If we produce the sort of football we're capable of doing in all three of these games, we will certainly pick up points.

"I want the lads to relish playing in important matches rather than go into them feeling pressure.

Jack Friend finds the net as March Town beat Felixstowe & Walton United Reserves last Saturday. Picture: IAN CARTERJack Friend finds the net as March Town beat Felixstowe & Walton United Reserves last Saturday. Picture: IAN CARTER

"It's still only early December so it would be very premature to start saying that we must win or must not lose certain games.

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"But it would be brilliant to go unbeaten between now and the new year and really be establish ourselves in the top four.

"It's such a competitive league and the carrot of more promotion places has probably led to that, but I'm confident we now have a group of players capable of winning promotion."

March Town man Dylan Edge is denied against Felixstowe & Walton United Reserves. Picture: IAN CARTERMarch Town man Dylan Edge is denied against Felixstowe & Walton United Reserves. Picture: IAN CARTER

March returned to winning ways last Saturday with a smooth 3-0 home triumph against Felixstowe & Walton United Reserves.

Craig Gillies broke the deadlock midway through the first half after a Jack Friend strike was parried.

But top-scorer Friend soon found the net himself with a double-strike to seal the points.

Gillies turned provided for the first of those goals by flicking a Danny Emmington throw on to Friend who finished smartly.

Friend completed the scoring five minutes into the second half to register his 26th goal in as many games this season after being picked out by Toby Allen.

At the other end it was a quiet debut for goalkeeper Callum Summers whose sole piece of action was claiming one catch.

Summers has been drafted in from Peterborough & District League side Parson Drove with Hares number one Charlie Congreve out with a calf problem.

Another new face, Jack Saunders, was also introduced as a second-half substitute. Saunders has arrived from Chatteris Town but has played at higher levels in the past with Yaxley and Ely City.

"It was a really good performance and an excellent response to losing at home the previous Saturday," added Whaley.

"The only slight negative is that we didn't score more goals as 3-0 didn't do justice after being so dominant for so much of the game."

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