GALLERY: March Town United beat Wisbech Town to lift BKD Cup in pre-season thriller
BKD Cup: March Town United 3 Wisbech Town 2
MARCH Town United lifted the BKD Cup on Tuesday night after former Wisbech Town ‘keeper Lea Jordan inspired them to a 3-2 win over his old team.
Jordan combined with substitute Stu Anderson to fire March to a memorable victory in the friendly, held in memory of March players Ben Whiteway, Karl Munton and Daniel Runacres who were killed in a car crash in 2002.
A minute’s silence was observed in memory of the boys and for Councillor Roger Green, an honorary vice-president of Wisbech Town, who was killed on Monday in a car crash on the A47.
Wisbech applied the early pressure in front of a crowd of 145 at the GER but it was March’s Andy Wayte who had the first real chance. Six minutes in, a swinging corner from the left was met by Wayte but his header was straight at Wisbech keeper Chris Horton.
The Fenmen had their own chance when Neal Spafford - pushed into central midfield by manager Steve Appleby - found Matt Lunn on the edge of the box but Jordan was alert to deny his former team-mate.
Wisbech did take the lead in the 20th minute when Liam Nimmo seized upon a defensive error to slot home from 12 yards.
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March responded well to conceding and in the 26th minute a clever pass from midfielder Kyle Nolan put Andy Wayte clean through on goal. The striker poked the ball past Horton to equalise for Brett Whaley’s Hares.
Wisbech piled on the pressure but the Ridgeons Premier Division side couldn’t beat Jordan. The shot-stopper raced off his line to deny Nimmo before a stunning reaction save deflected Lewis Thompson’s effort.
Spafford headed over from close range before a delicate chipped effort from former Chatteris Town midfielder Steven Reid went just over the bar.
On the stroke of half time, Spafford - who had been impressive throughout - picked up a serious-looking rib injury. He was replaced by Billy Smith.
Inspired by second-half substitute Stu Anderson, March flew out of the traps after half-time. Anderson put the Hares ahead with a glancing header before grabbing his second goal in six minutes with a wonderful 20-yard lob.
The game started to open up and, despite missing the influence of Spafford in midfield, Wisbech started to take charge. A freak deflected cross from the right hit the inside of the post and bounced away with Jordan stranded.
But the Fenmen were soon back in it when substitute Sam Murphy scored with his first touch to give them hope. The striker’s deflected effort bounced past a helpless Jordan to set up an exciting finish.
With time running out it was man-of-the-match Jordan who preserved March’s lead, denying Nimmo from close range before parrying Matt Lunn’s vicious volley.
Wisbech’s nightmare continued when defender Stacy Cartwright left the field on a stretcher after challenging for the ball with Hares captain Luke Pepper, who was making his first appearance since January as he continues to recover from a knee injury.
In the 86th minute Anderson was denied a second-half hat-trick when Horton made a smart save to keep out his low drive.
Wisbech were inches from a last-gasp equaliser when Nimmo’s squared pass trickled agonisingly across the box but, with no-one on hand to convert, March held on for a precious pre-season triumph over their rivals.
Man of the Match: Lea Jordan - The reliable ‘keeper showed no signs of nerves against his old club. He inspired the Hares with a string of fine saves and promises to be a valuable asset in March’s Ridgeons First Division campaign.