Hares boss returns to haunt his former club on derby day

PUBLISHED: 09:16 05 November 2020 | UPDATED: 09:16 05 November 2020

Ex-Wisbech St Mary striker Jack Friend (right) scored twice for March Town against his former club, a game that Hares boss Arran Duke felt was a comfortable performance. Picture: IAN CARTER

Ex-Wisbech St Mary striker Jack Friend (right) scored twice for March Town against his former club, a game that Hares boss Arran Duke felt was a comfortable performance. Picture: IAN CARTER

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Arran Duke wanted to make a statement with his current employers at his former club on derby day ahead of a lengthy lay-off, which he did with aplomb.

Ex-Wisbech St Mary striker Jack Friend scored twice for March Town against his former club, a game that Hares boss Arran Duke (pictured) felt was a comfortable performance. Picture: DANIEL MASONEx-Wisbech St Mary striker Jack Friend scored twice for March Town against his former club, a game that Hares boss Arran Duke (pictured) felt was a comfortable performance. Picture: DANIEL MASON

His March Town team delivered the goods in what Duke described as “a potential banana skin”, recovering from a goal down to beat Wisbech St Mary 5-1 in Thurlow Nunn League, First Division North on Wednesday night.

Following a frustrating first-half where they largely controlled possession, the Hares went behind five minutes after the break before five goals in 28 minutes against bottom-placed Saints.

“I felt we were really comfortable. I knew Wisbech St Mary were organised, and we knew it was a big game,” Duke said.

“When we conceded the goal, me and Mark (Warren) looked at each other and said ‘we’re fine’. It may have given us a wake-up to kick on, but we were more than comfortable.

“We were in possession for large periods of the game; we tried to play football. I can’t fault the boys; they’ve played well and got a result.”

Strikes from Toby Allen, Craig Gillies, Danny Emmington and a brace for ex-Saints striker Jack Friend did the damage for March, giving Duke a happy return to his old stomping ground.

Duke spent 10 years as Saints boss, and did see signs of the team he led to three promotions.

“They had two chances in the first-half. It was a long ball over the top and we let that happen,” he said.

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“We spoke about that threat at half-time and the two lads up front for them were quick and always looking to feed off it.

“We were happy with the performance in terms of keeping the ball, but it wasn’t quite where we wanted to be. We needed to be more ruthless to kick us in the right direction, and we scored five decent goals.”

March go into lockdown in form and a point off league leaders Fakenham Town, a similar position to when they headed into the first enforced break eight months ago.

But whenever they return to action, Duke believes his players will be ready for whatever comes their way.

“We’ve got enough quality for this level to expect to be winning games,” he said.

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“I think we said it before the start of the season that we have to win every game because if the season goes to points-per-game, we’ve got to be in a position where we’re comfortable.

“Whilst it’s frustrating for us, it’s frustrating for everyone so we’ve just got to get on with it and prepare ourselves if and when the season starts again, and we’ll be ready.”

March Town: Charlie Congreve; Drew Barker, Tom Mcleish (sub Tarren Moxon, 17’), Danny Emmington (C), Jamie Short, Josh Burrows (sub Brody Warren, 60’), Jack Saunders (sub Karl Anderson, 64’), Eoin McQuaid, Craig Gillies, Jack Friend, Toby Allen.

Unused subs: Charlie Pocklington, Eduard Sacovich.

Goals: Allen (56’), Friend (68’ and 76’), Emmington (82’), Gillies (84’).

Cautions: Jack Saunders (foul), Karl Anderson (foul).

Referee: Mr Ross Mortimer.

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