An historic encounter

WISBECH Town and March Town have not met in the FA Cup for almost 30 years and it was the Fenmen who won the last encounter 2-1 in 1981.

It was a third qualifying round tie at Fenland Park and Wisbech took a 2-0 lead after the break with a penalty from Roy McManus and a 30-yard strike from a young Phil Ward.

In a very close affair Clayton Brownlow put the Hares back in the game and in the last minute Clive Death thought he scored an equaliser but it was ruled out for a foul.

McManus, who has managed and played for both Wisbech and March over the years, said: “It was a very tight game with no goals in the first half. Wardy was brought down for the penalty and then hit one of the best goals seen at Fenland Park.”

The Wisbech team was: Kev Hudson, Ian Jones, Harry Baxter, Mel Mattless, Micky Roberts, Phil Ward, Jamie Brighty, Roy McManus, Andy Blunden, Gary Rider, Robin Saunt. Sub: John Scase.

In the 50s the two rivals met three times with March winning two successive games in the 1955-56 and 1956-57 seasons. The following year they met again at the GER in front of 4,450 fans with Jesse Pye and Tot Leverton scoring the Wisbech goals in a 2-1 win. Wally Beech scored for March.

Wisbech went on to beat Hounslow and Colchester United before losing to Reading in the second round proper.

Local soccer historian Gordon Smith has revealed that since the first FA Cup encounter in 1947 Wisbech have won five ties and March four, and three games required replays.