Stowmarket 1, March Town 1
HARES manager Brett Whaley feels his side’s promotion hopes now look forlorn after dropping two points at the Ridgeons League Division One strugglers on Saturday.
In fact March had to wait until the final minutes of the game to snatch an equaliser with an Ash Brand goal.
March were not helped when defender Marc Welcher was sent off after he clashed with a home forward with 10 minutes left.
Whaley said: “It was a game we should have won had we taken our chances and some poor decisions not gone against us. But when you are a goal down so late in the game you are just happy to get the point in the end.
“It seems every time we have a referee being assessed the pressure gets to them and this referee lost control in the second half, with nine bookings and two red cards.
“Marc was sent off but the Stowmarket player who had already been booked was allowed to be substituted. Usually when two players clash like this they are both sent off.
“Also Luke Pepper was booked for diving when you could hear his heels being clicked in the box and we should have had a penalty.
“We have now really dropped too many points for promotion and we would really need to win nine of our remaining 10 games.
“We certainly will not be giving up while it is possible.”
March, who had not played for two weeks, did not start the game well and the home side took the lead with a well-worked goal after 15 minutes.
March had the chance to equalise when Brand picked out Ondre Odain with a pass but the normally surefooted striker put his effort wide of the open goal.
After the break March improved and Pepper was in on goal when he went down only to be booked for his troubles and Brand had a good chance from a cross from the right but his volley failed to find the net.
Dan Jenkins looked to have come to the rescue when he attempted to chip the keeper from 25 yards, but the ball was diverted from the top corner with a finger-tip save.
The Stowmarket keeper also did well to keep out a Odain shot which took a deflection, with Stowmarket also down to 10 men.
The equaliser eventually came when time was running out with substitute Alex Burton’s overhead kick looking goalbound when Brand added the final touch.
March: Aaron Butcher, Gav Cooke, Marc Welcher, Dan Jenkins, Adam Sutton, Chris Lenton, Stu Anderson, Kyle Nolan, Ondre Odain, Luke Pepper, Ash Brand. Subs used: Adam Rothery, Craig Norman, Alex Burton.