NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: The feelgood factor is back at March Town as they end 2018 on a high

PUBLISHED: 11:03 03 January 2019

Captain Max Mattless wins the ball for March Town during their victory against Swaffham. Picture: IAN CARTER

Captain Max Mattless wins the ball for March Town during their victory against Swaffham. Picture: IAN CARTER

AdGarry Samuels

March Town saved their best until last in 2018 – and now go into the new year on a high.

March Town players celebrate Craig Gillies' opening goal against Swaffham. Picture: IAN CARTERMarch Town players celebrate Craig Gillies' opening goal against Swaffham. Picture: IAN CARTER

The Hares collected the finest result of a terrific Thurlow Nunn League First Division campaign in their final fixture of last year.

Brett Whaley’s men saw off fellow promotion hopefuls Swaffham Town at the GER last Saturday when recording a 2-0 success.

Craig Gillies opened the scoring for from the penalty spot before Jack Friend made sure of the points in the second half with his 20th goal of the campaign. Nine of those have arrived since he joined the Hares from Wisbech St Mary in late November.

March beat Fenland rivals Saints 5-1 on Boxing Day with Friend and Gillies both netting twice. Gav Cooke grabbed the other goal in that derby.

Hares hitman Jack Friend struck in the win against Swaffham. Picture: IAN CARTERHares hitman Jack Friend struck in the win against Swaffham. Picture: IAN CARTER

Those two results have moved the Hares onto a fine tally of 39 points – the same figure they managed in the whole of last season.

“The win against Swaffham is our best result of the season,” said Whaley. “It was a game involving two sides who looked nervous about losing rather than going all out to win. We got ahead through the early penalty and we’re able to scrap it out to get three big points.

“We’re ahead of the targets we set ourselves for this season both in terms of league position and the squad we have managed to assemble.

“There are a number of players in this squad who I inherited sitting 16th in the table back in February.

March striker Craig Gillies appeals for the penalty which he converted to put them ahead against Swaffham. Picture: IAN CARTERMarch striker Craig Gillies appeals for the penalty which he converted to put them ahead against Swaffham. Picture: IAN CARTER

“They have risen to the challenge and bought into everything we’ve asked of them, and also welcomed the other changes to personnel we have made. The fact we have matched last season’s points tally shows the progress we’ve made.”

Whaley sung the praises of debutant Danny Emmington who impressed in a midfield role against Swaffham after arriving from Peterborough & District League side Parson Drove.

March remain fourth in the First Division North standings but are now level with Swaffham.

They are 17 points behind runaway leaders Harleston Town, but the table-toppers and current second-placed side – Mulbarton Wanderers – are not thought to currently have facilities of a good enough standard to be promoted.

Therefore the Hares are well-placed to challenge to rise into Step 5 with a visit to bottom side Needham Market Reserves this Saturday, 3pm, being their next test.

“We’ve worked hard to get into this position and we cannot allow any complacency to creep in,” added Whaley. “We go into the new year massively on a high and we want to see the feelgood factor around the club continue.

“It’s not just the first team going well. The reserves are top of their division in the Cambs League and the Under 18s are through to a county cup final.”

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