March Town boss says more work required as Hares secure perfect start to new season

Jack Friend scored twice for March Town as they secured a 2-1 opening day victory over Great Yarmout

Jack Friend scored twice for March Town as they secured a 2-1 opening day victory over Great Yarmouth Town. Picture: IAN CARTER - Credit: Archant

March Town secured a perfect start to the new season, but boss Arran Duke believes more work needs to be done if they are to reach their full potential.

Jack Friend’s 87th-minute penalty earned a narrow 2-1 win over Great Yarmouth Town in the Hares’ Thurlow Nunn League, First Division North opener in front of a healthy crowd at the GER today (Saturday).

It’s a win that extended Duke’s unbeaten run as first-team manager to eight games dating back to February 8, before the 2019-20 campaign was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The crowd do make a difference, certainly at home, and I think we’ve missed it,” he said.

“I thought we lacked some cutting edge, which was a shame because we looked good in pre-season in going forward.

“It’s been a while since our last competitive game and we’ve got a sense of what we want to achieve, but there’s no need for them to be nervous.”

Friend’s thunderous first-half effort was cancelled out by Jordi Forbes’ header on 57 minutes, during a second period that March endured a wave of pressure from their Norfolk opponents.

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Substitutes Brody Warren and midfielder Jack Rawson steadied the ship for the hosts, and although the former Wisbech St Mary chief was not totally pleased, there was still some cheer.

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“I expected a response, but we lacked anything in the first 20-25 minutes of the second-half,” Duke said.

“I think they sussed us out; we were trying to switch the play a lot, they stopped us doing that.

“Brody has more than justified his place in the squad. He’s strong, quick and very good on the ball. He’s a player we’re going to keep working with.

“We looked more on the front foot when the changes were made, so I’ll give credit to the whole squad for getting back into the game, but there’s still work to do.”

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Duke also admitted it will take time for his team to find their rhythm again despite four wins from five pre-season friendlies, as they travel to Framlingham Town in their first league trip next Saturday (September 12, 3pm).

“We believe in what we’ve got and it will be nice to continue that unbeaten run,” he added.

“Our focus is on us. If we feel we’ve prepared right, we should be winning games. We’ll do some homework if we can and we’ll hopefully go there full of confidence.”

March: Charlie Congreve; Josh Burrows, Jamie Short, Danny Emmington, Tom McLeish, Tarren Moxon, Eoin McQuaid, Toby Allen (sub Jack Rawson, 71’), Craig Gillies (sub Brody Warren, 71’), Jack Friend, Jack Frohawk (sub Lewis Gibson, 87’).

Goals: March Town – Friend (12’ and 87’ pen). Great Yarmouth Town – Forbes (57’).

Cautions: March Town – Frohawk.

Man of the match: Friend.

Attendance: 149.