NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Fantastic Friend hits late leveller as March Town overcome two red cards to continue unbeaten run
- Credit: Archant
March Town overcame two dismissals and a two-goal deficit to continue their Thurlow Nunn League First Division unbeaten run last Saturday.
The Hares looked set to suffer a first league defeat for three months when finding themselves in a tough predicament at Downham Town, but a stunning late strike from Jack Friend ensured they escaped with a 2-2 draw.
March conceded twice in six minutes during a lacklustre display in the opening half and the afternoon went from bad to worse when defender Gav Cooke was dismissed three minutes before the break for collecting a second caution – described as being ‘very dubious’ by Whaley.
Adam Rothery pounced to halve the Hares’ arrears five minutes into the second period after Max Mattless had struck a post, but they found themselves at an even greater numerical advantage with 20 minutes to go.
Mattless received a second caution for mis-timing a last-ditch tackle and March were left to play the final 20 minutes with nine men.
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But that didn’t stop them hauling themselves level in spectacular style when recent signing Friend struck from fully 30 yards with three minutes to go.
Whaley said: “Our first-half performance was the worst we have been all season. Downham dominated us in all aspects of the game and we could count ourselves lucky not to be further behind.
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“But to do what we did in the second half is nothing short of amazing.
“We were the better side when down to 10 men and to get an equaliser when down to nine is fantastic.
“The boys gave everything they had and fully deserved to get something out of the game.
“We need to learn from both halves of the game. We have to ensure our discipline is considerably better than it was in the first 45 minutes, but we then proved in the second period that we can beat any side at this level when having the right focus and work-rate.”
March have dropped to fifth in the First Division North standings ahead of a potentially difficult home clash against mid-table side Debenham LC this Saturday, 3pm.
“While we’re delighted to have kept the unbeaten run going, we need to get back to winning ways,” added Whaley.
“We’ve been hit hard by suspensions with Gav and Max out after their red cards last Saturday and we’ve also got Jack Rawson banned as well.
“With a couple of other lads out injured the squad will be really stretched, but it’s a test we’re relishing.”