Taylor toasts a day of firsts as March Town return to winning ways

Craig Gillies and Jack Friend in action for March Town

Forward duo Craig Gillies (left) and Jack Friend both scored for March Town in their Eastern Counties League Premier Division win over Whitton United. - Credit: Ian Carter

His reign may be temporary, but Ashley Taylor could not have asked for a better first home game in charge of March Town.

Taylor helped mastermind a day of firsts this season for the Hares on Saturday, September 4 in a controlled display over Whitton United.

The 2-0 victory at the GER, courtesy of goals from lethal duo Jack Friend and Craig Gillies, was perhaps flattering on Whitton who were unable to regularly trouble goalkeeper Simon Dalton.

“I’m over the moon,” Taylor said.

“We had that commitment today, but also that quality and I’m so proud of them.

“For the work they put in, they fully deserved it.”

In his first home game in charge, Taylor earned his first win as interim boss as March earned their first triumph in the Eastern Counties League Premier Division after six attempts.

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A revitalised Hares got the ball rolling early, Gillies teeing up strike partner Friend to curl home past goalkeeper Jack Spurling on three minutes.

Whitton target man Remi Garrett ensured the 200-strong crowd that the visitors were no pushovers, as he proved a threat for the March defence.

But after Gillies hit a post from a Lewis Gibson corner soon before the break, there was no turning back for the hosts.

“There were times today that Whitton had spells, especially first half, start of the second half, they had a 10-15 minute period with opportunities,” said Taylor.

“But we dealt with it, we stayed focussed and our moments came.

“I thought we had a clear idea of how we wanted to defend, and I think it was evident.”

Ashley Taylor led March Town to first Eastern Counties League Premier Division win

March Town interim boss Ashley Taylor (pictured) led the Hares to their first win in all competitions this season with a 2-0 victory over Whitton United at the GER. - Credit: Daniel Mason

March, led by captain Max Mattless, stood valiantly against a side who had a point to prove after losing back-to-back games ahead of Saturday’s trip.

Dalton’s superb save at the top corner from Ollie Dunlop was the closest they came to scoring, before Gillies struck with 20 minutes to go to seal the win.

He perhaps should have increased his goal tally in stoppage time, after Spurling denied Friend and substitute Stef Cavozzi in a super double stop.

But it was a composed performance from the Hares, who go into their league clash at home to rock-bottom Swaffham Town on Tuesday in high spirits.

“We knew Saturday was going to be tough as every game in this league is tough, but I said if we win, it gives us momentum going into Tuesday with a good feeling,” Taylor said.

“Now we’ve got it, we want to keep it.

“We would not be able to do it without the supporters. When we’re having tough times, they do push us on.”

Asked if he would like to manage the team on a permanent basis, Taylor was enthused by the opportunity.

“It’s something I’d love to take,” he added. 

“I said I was happy to come in on an interim basis and after days like Saturday, how could you not want to be the manager of this team?”

March Town: Simon Dalton; Sam Garner, Jack Saunders, Max Mattless (C), Danny Emmington, Jack Rawson, Lewis Gibson (sub Sam Green, 90’+1), Josh Burrows, Craig Gillies, Jack Friend, Jack Frohawk (sub Stef Cavozzi, 69’).

Unused subs: Harvey Dearlove, Jamie Short.

Cautions: March Town - Rawson (foul).

Man of the match: Craig Gillies

Attendance: 200

Referee: Mr Ian Pascu