NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: March Town see the wait for a win continue following late controversy

Craig Gillies hit his first March Town goal . . . but saw a late winner not given. Picture: IAN CART

Craig Gillies hit his first March Town goal . . . but saw a late winner not given. Picture: IAN CARTER - Credit: Archant

March Town manager Brett Whaley has urged his players not to feel sorry for themselves after a moment of controversy denied them a first win of the season.

March Town manager Brett Whaley. Picture: IAN CARTER

March Town manager Brett Whaley. Picture: IAN CARTER - Credit: Archant

The Hares thought they had snatched a dramatic Thurlow Nunn League First Division North triumph at Debenham LC last Saturday only to have to settle for a 1-1 draw.

March striker Craig Gillies raced in on goal in stoppage time and lifted a shot past the home goalkeeper. His effort appeared to have crossed the line before being cleared by a defender, but the officials insisted that wasn’t the case.

Summer signing Gillies had opened his Hares account with an early breakthrough, but March were pegged back by a high-class strike from the hosts with 15 minutes to go.

Whaley said: “We could see the ball was clearly in the net. Our players knew it, the Debenham players knew it and both benches knew it, but the officials didn’t give the goal.

“It’s really frustrating to miss out on our first win because of a decision like that. A point away at Debenham can usually be considered pleasing, but we’re not getting the results we deserve.

“We could easily be sitting here with seven points from our first three games . . . instead we have only two.

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“It would be very easy for the players to feel sorry for themselves, but they can’t allow that to happen.

“They just need to stick to the script and continue to play as well as they have been doing. If that happens we will have a good season.”

Gillies is not having much luck in front of goal. He has also seen efforts ruled in the club’s two previous games – a season-opening defeat against King’s Lynn Town Reserves and a draw with Needham Market Reserves.

Putting the ball in the net is an area in which Whaley wants improvement. March’s creativity has impressed him – their finishing less so.

He added: “It’s not quite happening for the forwards at the minute and that can affect their confidence.

“Craig got his first goal on Saturday and then looked like a different player for the rest of the game.

“We need that first one to come for young Rob Conyard as well and when it does it will lift a weight off his shoulders.”

The Hares handed debuts to goalkeeper James Connell and wideman Dylan Kilford, who have both arrived from higher-level Peterborough Sports, at Debenham LC.

That was a one-off appearance for Connell due to regular number one Simon Dalton being at a wedding, whereas Kilford will continue in March colours.

He returns tomorrow for a home date against Leiston Reserves tomorrow at the GER, 3pm.

Central defender Jamie Short also impressed at Debenham LC when starting a second loan spell with the club. The St Ives Town teenager was also with the club during last season.