NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: March Town manager delighted with side’s fine progress to finish fourth
- Credit: Archant
March Town boss Brett Whaley has spoken of his delight following a season of immense progress on and off the pitch.
Whaley led the Hares to fourth place in Thurlow Nunn League First Division North – a sharp rise after ending up 16th a year earlier.
And their exciting side has certainly created a buzz with three-figure attendances regularly being attracted to the GER.
“The club’s priority was to finish high enough to earn a place in the FA Cup again and we’ve done that,” said Whaley.
“My objective at the start of the season was fourth place and it’s pleasing to get over the line in that regard as well.
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“We’ve made tremendous progress and everyone involved can be hugely proud of that. We’ve only lost six games all season, we’ve never lost back-to-back games and we have scored close to 100 goals. There are a whole host of positives not least of all the size of the crowds we’ve been attracting.
“We’ve regularly had more than 100 supporters at home games and it’s great to see the local public backing us as we try to give them a successful team to cheer on.”
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The Hares came from behind to sign off with a 2-1 victory at Diss in their closing game last Saturday.
Craig Gillies levelled from the spot on the stroke of half-time after Luke Pepper was fouled and hit the winner with 20 minutes left.
Whaley handed a senior debut to Under 18s goalkeeper Charlie Pocklington at Diss with regular number one Simon Dalton absent.
“We produced arguably our best performance of the season on Easter Monday against Fakenham, but then had to make four changes for the trip to Diss,” added Whaley.
“We ended up with a very young side and it didn’t quite happen for us in the first half when we fell behind. Getting level just before half-time was a real boost given we had played pretty poorly to that point, but the boys really rallied in the second half and we managed to shut up shop after getting ourselves in front.
“It was another case of finding a way to win on a day when we weren’t at our best, but we have to find more consistency in terms of performances if we are to progress again next season.”
The Hares will be determined to hang on to strike ace Jack Friend, who finished as joint-top scorer in the First Division North with 32 goals in a prolific campaign, with 21 of those goals after his switch from Wisbech St Mary.
The club have launched a third senior side for next season which will play in the Cambidgeshire County League.
Rob Pooley, who ran the Under-18 side this term, will take the reins with former Wisbech St Mary stalwart Mark Warren coming in to take charge of the youth set-up for 2019/20.