One step forward and two steps back for March Town after losing top two clash
- Credit: Archant
March Town boss Arran Duke believes it was a case of one step forward and two steps back for his players following mixed results in Thurlow Nunn League, First Division North.
A thumping 6-0 victory over Leiston Reserves at the GER last Saturday preceded a 2-1 home defeat to promotion rivals Lakenheath on Tuesday, a loss that saw their opponents leap into top spot at the Hares’ expense.
The game was perhaps shrouded in controversy after a suspicious elbow on March defender Jamie Short moments before half-time, as well as penalty shouts and missed opportunities, which led to an unusually frustrating night for the hosts.
“It was a frustrating night; we didn’t create enough chances which is something we should naturally do with the players we’ve got,” Duke said.
“My focus is always on my players, and I felt we had enough quality in that back four to deal with the threat, but we didn’t.
“They need to learn their lesson from the game. We can’t be put in a situation where we’ve got to push players forward just to get back into the game and lose our shape.”
First-half strikes from Tom Thulborn and Rafal Wozniak did the damage, before Craig Gillies converted an 86th-minute penalty to set up a dramatic finale.
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March reacted strongly after the break and regularly pressured their visitors, which included former Hares defender Scott Callaghan, with Gillies and Jack Frohawk going close.
Town’s first defeat of the season ends Duke’s unbeaten run at 11 games, but he hopes this game can act as a learning curve ahead of a tricky run of fixtures, starting with the visit of Mulbarton Wanderers on Saturday, October 3.
“It feels like one step forward, two steps back. I think the result has hurt them in a big way and we will use that and turn it into a positive,” Duke said.
“We have to dominate games, we have to play our way and if you don’t, you’ll get beat, so we’re going to have to learn from it quickly because we’ve got some big games coming up.
“We probably tried to overplay and rush a few passes, forcing the ball forward and it didn’t work for us.
“If we’re chasing a game, we’ve got to know how to deal with it and we’ve got to not panic, which I felt we did.
“I fully expect a reaction and I’m sure we’ll get it. It will hurt until we play next week, then we expect them to put it right.”
March Town: Charlie Congreve; Josh Burrows, Tom McLeish, Jamie Short, Danny Emmington (C), Jack Rawson (sub Brody Warren, 66’), Jack Frohawk (sub Jack Saunders, 74’), Eoin McQuaid, Jack Friend, Craig Gillies, Lewis Gibson.
Subs unused: Charlie Pocklington, Gavin Cooke, Efraim Romanos.
Goals: March Town – Gillies (86’ pen). Lakenheath – Thulborn (23’), Wozniak (34’).
Cautions: March Town – Congreve (dissent).
Referee: Mr Patrick Hennebry.