March Town 2, Downham Town 0
THE HARES made it five successive victories at the GER on Boxing Day but this was certainly not a five star performance.
In fact manager Brett Whaley admitted: “We had not played for two weeks and we looked lethargic. I do not think the 11am start helped but in the end it was just good to get the three points and keep the winning run going.
“When we looked at the fixtures coming up this game was a potential real banana skin for us, so although we did not play that well we still got the job done.”
Despite not looking at their best, March were a cut above a young Downham side who to their credit never gave up and worked hard to stay in the game without troubling Aaron Butcher in the March goal too much.
It was perhaps typical of the game of few chances that March took the lead after 20 minutes with an own goal. Ondre Odain laid the ball back on the right for Lewis Cook to hit a first time cross into the away area and in trying to clear Matthew Franks volleyed the ball into the net.
Odain, who always looked a threat on the right, then hit the top of the crossbar with a shot from outside the area but poor passing in the final third was restricting the Hares to long range efforts.
Brand in fact had the best chance of the half just two minutes from the break when Marc Welcher put the ball through to leave Brand one on one with from ex-Hares keeper Lee Brooks but he shot just past the post. Then Brand shot just wide from 25 yards also.
After the break Stu Anderson, who had a relatively quiet game, did not connect fully with an attempted scissors kick to send the ball wide from a Gav Cooke cross.
But 14 minutes into the half Odain made it four goals from four games. Some Downham players were still protesting at the linesman’s decision when Kyle Nolan’s quick throw-in found the former Huntingdon man and he broke into the box before beating Brooks with a shot at the near post.
It was pretty comfortable from March from there on as they made changes bringing on their three substitutes Luke Pepper, Ben Hepworth and Craig Norman at intervals.
Whaley added: “I am delighted for Odain. It is always good when you bring in a striker and he starts scoring goals straight away even when he has been playing on the right. It was also good to get Hepworth and Norman some time on the pitch too.”
March: Aaron Butcher, Lewis Cook, Gavin Cooke, Chris Lenton, Marc Welcher; Ondre Odain, Dan Jenkins, Adam Rothery, Ash Brand, Kyle Nolan, Stu Anderson. Subs used: Luke Pepper, Craig Norman, Ben Hepworth.