Unbeaten run shattered

March Town United 4, Great Yarmouth Town 2The Bloaters returned from Cambridgeshire with their unbeaten run rudely shattered by an in-form March, and by fiery Ashley Brand in particular.

March Town United 4, Great Yarmouth Town 2

The Bloaters returned from Cambridgeshire with their unbeaten run rudely shattered by an in-form March, and by fiery Ashley Brand in particular. The diminutive striker scorched his way through the Yarmouth defence and notched a hat-trick, which eclipsed all Yarmouth's efforts.

“We were totally outplayed in every department!” was joint manager Paul Tong's outspoken but honest assessment. “They wanted it more than we did, and all credit to them. Our boys looked a bit jaded and tired, and it took the youngsters to come on and show us what we needed to do.”

This was a reference to Jake Reed who played with the kind of urgency and pace that had been lacking and which worried the home side into conceding the corner from which fellow substitute Liam Bartley scored Yarmouth's second goal.

Some of the players could have been excused after their efforts in the 10-man show on Tuesday against Debenham LC, but the returns of Stewart Roach and Scott Woodcock, who both missed that game, should have inspired a better effort.

“We were decidedly lack-lustre and second to the ball: and when we had it, we gave it away far too cheaply,” continued Tong. “We picked a very attacking formation but probably got the shape wrong early doors and we had barely a shot on target in the entire first half. We have some good players but they didn't gel today. When you get beat you have to hold your hands up and we do, but players carrying injuries didn't help.

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“But, hey, no excuses - it just wasn't our day. We could have played them all night and we still wouldn't have won, they always had that little bit extra.”

Yarmouth started well in control, and it was 13 minutes before March had their first attempt on goal, a wide shot from captain and leading scorer Luke Pepper. However as the afternoon gloom deepened so Yarmouth's brightness faded too and March went ahead after 18 minutes when Craig Norman connected with a free-kick into the area to deceive Elliot Pride with the bounce.

One player who could not be accused of slackness was Dominic Smith: it was his shot that was well-taken by home keeper Chris Anker, and he it was that went up with Anker for a Woodcock centre that the keeper plucked off his head.

Adam Sewell's long throws were a familiar attacking ploy until the Youth team player had to go off with a knock.

This brought Reed to the stage but immediately Brand fired the first of his three, beating Pride from the edge of the box after being allowed to run in from the left wing in the 32nd minute.

Yarmouth won corners but couldn't finish them off but came close to pulling one back right on half time when Reed headed down goalwards only for Norman to kick off his goal-line.

Pride produced one of his fingertip saves just after the break but March were not to be denied further success for long. Brand may be small in stature but he is big of heart and difficult to mark and once again got away in the box to fire across Pride into the keeper's right corner after 54 minutes.

Yarmouth immediately pulled one back through Woodcock who showed how easy it could be with a shot very similar to Brand's first. But not to be outdone, Brand restored the three-goal cushion with a shot from the left that went in off a post.

Three goals in three minutes, and there was one more to come, when Reed chased an apparent lost cause to the byline and won a corner after 68 minutes. Woodcock's place kick went to the far post where Sullivan nodded it back to substitute Bartley who scored with a neat header from two yards.

Reed continued to put himself about, winning free-kicks which, however, went unconverted, and Brand was prevented from nabbing a personal fourth goal in the final minute when Pride raced out to block.

Yarmouth - Elliot Pride, Johnathan Watt (Liam Bartley 63), Adam Sewell (Jake Reed 30), Toby Gorbould, Adrian Ager, Alan Darby, Chris Squire, Adam Sullivan (c), Stewart Roach, Dominic Smith, Scott Woodcock. Unused Subs: Tommy Gardiner, Michael Hilton. Att - 60

The club is indebted to committee-man Arthur Fisk for providing a portable treatment mattress which the sports injury therapists can take to away games. It provides a suitable surface for injured players to lie on while being treated, and was in use for the first time at March.

Match posters are available to any supporter who would like to display one in their house window, local shop/pub etc. They are issued on a monthly basis. Ask at any match or ring 01502 513669.