GALLERY & VIDEO: Wisbech Town smash eight past March Town United in Fen Derby thrashing
A NEW-LOOK March Town United were given a harsh footballing lesson at the GER on Saturday as Wisbech Town romped to an 8-1 victory.
The Fenmen re-claimed the BKD Cup after outclassing, outmuscling and outplaying the Hares in the pre-season Fen Derby.
Paul Crosbie’s side, who are re-building after a raft of squad changes, battled hard for 25 minutes to frustrate their Fenland neighbours.
But after centre-back Anthony Reeve headed Wisbech in front in the 29th minute, Steve Appleby’s Fenmen began to run riot.
Chris Bacon scored a hat-trick, Simon Mowbray and Reeve got braces and Dubi Ogbonna capped another impressive display with a fine solo goal.
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Striker Stu Anderson chipped home March’s goal in the second half - but that was little consolation to new Hares boss Crosbie.
“Nobody wants to get beaten 8-1,” he said. “I was disappointed a little bit with the way that we folded.
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“Twice in the game we folded badly, once when we conceded in the first half and then again in the second half.
“I’m not going to scream and bark and humiliate players but we just didn’t believe in ourselves. Then, when we did, and we started moving the ball around, we looked all right.
“There is a clear chasm. They’re a team who are trying to get out of the Eastern Counties and we’re a team that’s trying to grow together as this football club grows.”
He added: “That won’t happen again this season. I guarantee that. Even when we play them in the league cup, that won’t happen.”
Fenmen boss Steve Appleby, whose side have now plundered 17 goals in four pre-season wins, was more upbeat.
“Once we settled down and got hold of the ball the levels were there for all to see,” he said.
“We punished them and some of the football we played was pleasing. Things are coming along nicely.
“You’ve got to take into consideration that March are basically starting again. Fair play to them and good luck to them.”
More than 200 fans filled the GER for the BKD Cup, which is played in memory of March players Ben Whiteway, Karl Munton and Daniel Runacres who were killed in a car crash in 2002.
And Crosbie’s charges looked organised during the opening exchanges. The Scot stuck to his attacking principles, fielding Anderson, James McDonough and Robbie Masters as a front three.
But Appleby’s in-form Fenmen soon had March pinned back in their own half, with Callum Reed looking dangerous on the right-hand side and Mowbray full of running up front.
Reed drew the first save from Hares ‘keeper Jack McKeown in the 10th minute before Rogan McGeorge, who was dictating the game from a slightly deeper midfield role, skewed a shot over the bar.
March produced their first bit of quality in the 16th minute as McDonough met Masters’ right-wing cross with a thunderous volley which sneaked inches wide of the upright.
McDonough and Sam Darlow were starting to combine nicely for the Hares on the left-hand side but both were struggling to contain Reed.
The midfielder’s crosses were proving Wisbech’s main threat but it was from a McGeorge delivery that Appleby’s side took the lead.
Reeve, who had twice missed chances to convert corners, rose to nod past McKeown in the 29th minute.
Wisbech’s lead was doubled three minutes later, from another back post header. This time it was Mowbray who was the architect as his delicious left-footed cross was headed home by Bacon.
Crosbie became more animated on the sideline as March started to lose their shape. An Adam Millson effort was blocked on the line after a curling free-kick from Bacon was parried by McKeown.
March were handed a golden chance to grab one back on the stroke of half time, courtesy of a great flick on by Masters. The striker’s header put Anderson through on goal, but his toe poke was parried wide by Lea Jordan in the Fenmen goal.
Sensing blood, Appleby went all-out attack in the second half, bringing Ogbonna on for Millson at the break. It was a tactic that quickly brought rewards as the Fenmen scored four goals in a frantic six minutes.
Ogbonna started the flurry of goals by twisting and turning past three defenders before slotting past McKeown.
Mowbray made it 4-0 two minutes later, after he was allowed to carry the ball too far and drove home from the edge of the box.
The striker bagged his second in the 57th minute, turning home McGeorge’s cross for 5-0, and when Bacon headed his second the scoreline had suddenly turned ugly for March.
Anderson put a halt to the one-way traffic in the 63rd minute as he latched onto a bobbling through ball to chip Jordan and make it 6-1.
But normal service resumed nine minutes later as Bacon sealed his hat-trick with a deft chip over March’s substitute ‘keeper Ben Collett.
Reeve bundled home his second from a McGeorge corner in the 77th minute to leave the Fenmen faithful calling for double figures.
But as Wisbech pushed forward in search of more, Hares substitute Sean White began to find some space on the right-hand side.
The youngster exchanged passes neatly with Ben Lemmon before blazing wide a good chance for, what would have been, a deserved goal.
Reeve headed a late chance for an unlikely hat-trick over the bar - but that did little to quell Wisbech’s delight.
Fenmen captain Neal Spafford collected the BKD cup from Alan Munton, the father of crash victim Karl, before Wisbech were left to celebrate beating another of their fierce rivals.