NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: A pair of Jacks proves to be a top hand for March Town in the race for promotion
PUBLISHED: 15:01 11 December 2019
March Town truly proved their promotion credentials last Saturday by seeing off a set of top-four rivals.
Strikes from Jack Rawson and Jack Friend earned a 2-0 victory in a tense affair with Norwich CBS.
The win lifted the Hares above their opponents on goal difference and into fourth spot in the Thurlow Nunn League First Division North standings with clashes against the current top two - Mulbarton Wanderers and Downham Town - still to come this month.
An attacking intent from the offset reflected the positive approach that March boss Brett Whaley wanted to see from his players and it was something that the visitors struggled to handle.
The lethal front three of Friend, Craig Gillies and Toby Allen saw chances gathered by goalkeeper Nathan Pauling early on, with Dylan Edge also in the mood from an attacking midfield position.
But it was from an unlikely source that should have opened the scoring as defender Jamie Short miscuing a drilled cross from captain Danny Emmington midway through the first half.
Even though the Norfolk outfit defended admirably, the door always looked destined to be unlocked and it was through Rawson's curling effort on 42 minutes.
Pauling could have done better in preventing the midfielder finding the bottom corner, leaving his side with an even tougher mountain to climb after the break.
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The game was temporarily in danger of leaving March's grasp had Charlie Congreve not produced a terrific one-handed save to tip Lewis Johnson's venomous strike over his crossbar.
Congreve replaced recent signing Callum Summers after returning from injury, and nearly paid the price for a sloppy goal kick that Ross Gilfedder failed to pounce upon as CBS looked for a leveller.
Referee Andrew Wilson, along with his linesman, then made a crucial decision when disallowing Norwich an equaliser due to a foul on Short in the build-up.
That let-off served only to spur Whaley's troops towards a sixth home league success - even if it was through the old-fashioned route one method.
Congreve spotted the run of Friend in between two visiting defenders, and the club's leading marksman had time and space to curl brilliantly into the top corner past a helpless Pauling with under 10 minutes remaining.
The life in Norwich CBS was sucked away as the luxury of a safety net basked over the Hares.
Edge could well have emphasised March's superiority with a late strike, but this did not matter on what could prove to be a season-defining day.
March: Charlie Congreve; Josh Burrows (sub Gav Cooke, 73), Tom McLeish, Jack Rawson, Danny Emmington, Jamie Short, Dylan Edge, Adam Rothery (sub Tarren Moxon, 73), Jack Friend (sub Brody Warren, 86), Toby Allen, Craig Gillies. Unused subs: Callum Summers, Lewis Gibson.