March outclassed by Fakenham
MARCH Town United co-manager Alan Russell has admitted that his side were outclassed by Fakenham Town on Saturday but he believes that the Hares deserved a valuable point. The 1-1 draw at the GER did little to improve March s position at the wrong end of
MARCH Town United co-manager Alan Russell has admitted that his side were outclassed by Fakenham Town on Saturday but he believes that the Hares deserved a valuable point.
The 1-1 draw at the GER did little to improve March's position at the wrong end of the Ridgeons First Division but the result could have been much worse.
After Fakenham had dominated the game, the Hares' dogged defensive performance was finally rewarded with a last-minute equaliser from debutant Joe Woods.
With both Luke Pepper and Harry Roe out, the March midfield struggled to stamp their authority on the game.
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Russell was forced to play former Wisbech Town Reserves striker Woods in a make-shift midfield and the Hares faced waves of attacks.
Fakenham dominated possession throughout the first half as the Hares defence was pushed deeper by the visitors' more productive midfield.
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March rarely got forward and their only half-chances fell to Ashley Brand whose shots from the edge of the box failed to trouble the visiting keeper.
For all their possession, Fakenham were unable to create a clear goal-scoring chance until the final minute of the half, when March keeper Chris Anker produced a stunning save to push a close-range shot over the bar.
Hopes that the Hares would improve in the second half were dashed when Fakenham continued their onslaught and again, Anker had to be alert to save with his legs three minutes after the break.
Things went from bad to worse when Ashley Brand was stretchered-off the field after taking a blow to the back of the head.
The March defence continued to battle hard and the centre half pairing of Steve Thompson and Paul Cousins were outstanding in clearing crosses and making important challenges.
But the inevitable break in the deadlock came 13 minutes from time when the visitors broke down the left and a low cross was diverted into the net by Paul Wheeler.
The Hares seemed to be heading for defeat but in the final minute, the home side made a rare visit to the edge of the Fakenham box and Woods unleashed a dipping shot from 20 yards that looped into the net.
Alan Russell said: "I am very pleased and it was a good result for us. I thought that we defended superbly and Chris Anker kept us in the game with a couple of top quality saves.
"That proved to be key and although Fakenham were the better side over 90 minutes, I think that we deserved to get something out of the game."
He added: "With Luke Pepper and Harry Roe out, we knew that we would struggle in midfield. I asked players to play out of position and they couldn't get hold of the ball."
"When they scored I thought that the lads' heads would go down and we would concede more but they kept going to the very end."
He added: "Joe Woods didn't have a great game in midfield but that was understandable and he came up with a fantastic goal."
Ashley Brand has recovered from suffering concussion in the Fakenham game but he remains a doubt for March's trip to second-placed Swaffham Town tomorrow (Saturday).
Keeper Chris Anker is not available for selection but Luke Pepper, Harry Roe, Ben Russell and Ian Simmonds will return to the team.
* MARCH look set to sign Swaffham Town midfielder Michael Jeffers, who has signalled his intention to join the Hares.
Russell said: "I am very hopeful that Michael will sign for us. It may be a done deal before the Swaffham game but we will have to see."
Russell is also planning to hold transfer talks with Leverington keeper Chris Horton before the weekend.