Poor Hares close to rock bottom
MARCH Town United are perilously close to the bottom of the Ridgeons First Division following a disappointing 4-0 home defeat to Haverhill Rovers on Saturday. March co-manager Alan Russell described his team s performance as very poor and admitted: We
MARCH Town United are perilously close to the bottom of the Ridgeons First Division following a disappointing 4-0 home defeat to Haverhill Rovers on Saturday.
March co-manager Alan Russell described his team's performance as "very poor" and admitted: "We just didn't compete with them.
"They are one of the best attacking sides we have played all season and they have some very good players. But I expected us to follow-up last week's good performance with another encouraging display."
He added: "The second half performance was particularly bad and our two centre halves were the only players to come out of the game with any credit."
If the result wasn't bad enough, March also lost midfielder Luke Pepper to a red card in the dying minutes of the game.
The visitors looked the more dangerous in the opening exchanges although neither side created a clear opportunity until the 24th minute when Haverhill were awarded a penalty.
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James Patrick was penalised for a push in the box but the early chance was squandered by Neil Cogger, who pulled his spot-kick wide of the left hand post.
The scare sparked March into an attack and, after some fine work on the right wing, Billy Smith delivered a cross that was headed into the net by Paul Shafer - but the effort was ruled out for offside.
Haverhill were a constant threat down the wings and March had problems dealing with balls delivered across their penalty area.
The deadlock was finally broken seven minutes before the break. A deep corner from Cogger was only half-cleared by home keeper Chris Horton and centre back Colin Vowden was on hand to fire the ball into the roof of the March net.
The game now opened up as March searched for the equaliser and they very nearly got it three minutes later.
A deep free kick into the heart of the Rovers' penalty area resulted in a goalmouth scramble and March's best chance of the game.
Patrick's shot was saved and Pepper's follow-up deflected into the path of Smith who saw his header saved at point blank range by Aaron Benstead.
And the game took a cruel twist less than a minute later. Rovers broke down the left from a free kick and a dangerous ball into a crowded box deflected off a home player before looping into the net.
The second goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of March, who were under-par after the break.
Rovers hit the bar five minutes into the second half and Horton had to be alert to save Cogger's effort eight minutes later.
But it was 3-0 on 70 minutes when a ball from the right fell to substitute Ben Cowling, and his shot evaded Horton's desperate attempt to save and rolled into the net.
When Adam Salmons scored Rovers' fourth goal 12 minutes from the end, it seemed things couldn't get any worse for the Hares - but they did.
With virtually the last kick of the game, a shot from Smith appeared to be handled by a Rovers defender in the area, but when a free-kick was awarded on the edge of the box, Pepper was dismissed for his protests.
The result drops March to second bottom of the Ridgeons First Division. Russell said: "I am upset with the performance and now the lads have to show us what they are capable of."
- Wednesday's match at Godmanchester Rovers was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.