Spirited second half showing not enough for March
Pinchbeck United 4, March Town 2
March Town got an early taste of what life as a Step Five club could be like as they went down to a 4-2 away defeat at Pinchbeck United in Saturday's friendly.
The Hares are hoping to have their place in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division confirmed this week as part of the Football Association's restructuring of the non-league pyramid.
And three first half goals by their United Counties League Premier Division hosts on Saturday gave the Hares an indication of the challenges ahead.
Pinchbeck have been playing a number of competitive matches in recent weeks in the Kingfisher Lightning United Counties League Cup.
And they looked the sharper side in the opening period as two goals in five first half minutes put Pinchbeck in control of the contest at Knight Street.
This was March's last friendly, before a break and pre-season in July. They included former Hares keeper Simon Dalton in their line-up, after a spell at United Counties League Blackstones, and another ex-Blackstones player in Liam Rodden. Eoin McQuaid, who has been trying out for Wisbech, also featured.
They hit the front after 12 minutes when a searing run down the right from Scott Waumsley saw him pick out strike partner Jake Knight with a pass which was met by an impressive low strike.
The lead was doubled after 17 minutes when home skipper Archie Moyses pinged an excellent through ball which set Waumsley free and he powered home a strong finish.
Finlay Armond and Knight both sent further efforts at the March goal while at the other end former Peterborough United scholar Dylan Taylor made a couple tidy saves to prevent the Hares from cutting the deficit.
Taylor was beaten 10 minutes before half-time by a deft header which was then ruled out for offside while the Hares also had a penalty shout turned down when Jack Friend went over in the box under a Pinchbeck challenge.
Waumsley and Knight both went close for Pinchbeck who then scored their third goal two minutes before half-time.
Dan Worthington's crossfield pass picked out Knight who cut inside and drilled in a shot which squirmed into the March net.
Nathan Moss saw a shot well saved on the stroke of half-time before March reduced the arrears eight minutes into the second period with a strong run and shot by second half substitute Gary Smith.Taylor then saved well with his legs after March had collected his punched clearance before Waumsley had an effort cleared off the line at the other end having won the race for the ball with the Hares' second half custodian Charlie Pocklington.
Pinchbeck did then net with their fourth goal after 65 minutes when Harrison Holland's well-struck low strike hit the inside of the post and rolled out invitingly for Harry Machin to score from close range.
March went straight back on the offensive and Friend fired a shot against the post before the Hares scored their second late on when Max Mattless headed home from a corner.