Hares boss questions players’ desire after March Town United slump to 2-1 defeat

Ridgeons First Division: March Town United 1 Halstead Town 2

A MISERABLE performance from March Town United saw them crumble to a 2-1 defeat at home to Halstead Town.

The Hares put in a lacklustre showing at the GER, going behind after just three minutes. A goal just before the interval from skipper Luke Pepper threatened to revive March, but sloppy second-half defending saw Halstead net a deserved winner.

The result ended the Hares’ three game winning run and saw them drop to ninth in the Ridgeons First Division, one place below today’s visitors.

“It’s a lack of effort,” said frustrated March manager Jamie Weston. “They have won that game by just sheer desire to win it. We’re so wasteful in front of goal that it’s ridiculous.

“It’s that lack of desire to get yourself in the ugly place where it might hurt - but you’ll get yourself a goal for it. We had no desire to get into those sort of areas.

“They out-worked us in every area.”

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The Hares got off to a nightmare start when woeful defending saw Halstead midfielder Nico Farthing power a header past Lee Brooks in the March goal.

The home side could have levelled instantly but teenager Dan Sterna skewed his attempted lob wide.

The Hares were forced into two first half substitutions. Adam Sutton limped off injured and Sterna had to be hauled off due to illness.

Ironically it was their two replacements that were perhaps March’s best performers, with Denny Escorcio repeatedly troubling the Halstead back line and Grant Watson protecting his back four confidently from midfield.

And it was a surging run from Escorcio - whose direct approach could also have seen them awarded a penalty - that provided the equaliser for the unconvincing Hares.

The striker beat his man and sent an inch-perfect pass across the goalmouth, leaving Luke Pepper to bundle home his 11th of the season with a deflected effort.

Weston would have hoped the equaliser would propel his side on in the second half but it was not be, as March struggled to find any fluency in their play.

Halstead got their winner just after the hour mark when the Hares failed to clear a long throw, leaving Josh Palmer to smash the ball into the far corner of Brooks’ net.

March sent men forward in a desperate attempt to fight their way back into the match but failed to convert any of their numerous chances. Halstead themselves squandered plenty of opportunities to make the game safe but the visitors did enough to hang on for the three points.

An angry Weston questioned his team’s desire and said his troops must improve if they are to launch a league challenge.

“We gifted them two goals from just absolutely terrible defending and a lack of responsibility,” he said. “The first goal is a poor, poor goal and the second one as well.

“We’re getting punished at the moment because teams are taking their chances and we aren’t. All the momentum you get from the good wins, it gets taken away by games like today.

“We need players in this group to step up and do it themselves. It’s not that we haven’t got them, it’s just that they’re not doing their job.

“In fairness, it’s a bad result in a good run. But when it gets tight you need to show a bit more than we did today.”

The Hares are back in action in the Cambs Invitational Cup on Tuesday night, when they will host Kershaw league high-flyers Fulbourn Institute.