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March boss Duke unhappy with second half display as his team crash out of FA Cup

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March Town boss Arran Duke apologised to the club’s travelling fans after a poor second half display saw them dumped out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle on Saturday.

It’s now three defeats out of three for the injury-hit Hares this season, after losing 4-2 at Bugbrooke St Michaels in a game where they had led 2-0.

In front of a coach-load of travelling fans, teenagers Harri Clarke and Brody Warren had fired March two up after 25 minutes.

Harri Clarke scored for March.
Harri Clarke scored for March.

The home side pulled one back on the stroke of half time, equalised on the hour, took the lead in the 75th minute and sealed the victory two minutes from time.

After the match, Duke told the Citizen: “I felt for the supporters as we did let them down with the second half performance.

“As per usual, they backed us to the end but we owe them far more than they got. I can only say we fell apart in the second half. It was so disappointing to see a capable group let their standards slip so badly.

On the positive side, two 18-year-olds scored on their FA Cup debuts but on the day we just weren’t good enough.”

Asked about his side’s disappointing start to the season since promotion to the Thurlow Nunn Eastern Counties League Premier Division, Duke added: “I don’t believe it’s harder than I expected as I had no doubts it wasn’t going to be easy.

“But we are yet to find our feet in the first three games. There were enough positives to show we can can compete, but our standards were not met against Bugbrooke.”

The Hares travel to play Norwich United on Saturday and then entertain Mildenhall Town next Tuesday.

Duke added: “The next two games will be tough ones but we dust ourselves down and keep plugging away and we will keep working hard to get up and going.”

He said Josh Burrows had to come off at half time on Saturday, making it eight players now on the injury list, with defenders Jamie Short and Dean Miller both long term.

“Injuries at the moment are the worst I’ve ever known. It’s frustrating but certainly no excuse for us falling apart on Saturday. We have to learn to deal with it.”

March Town team v Bugbrooke: Dalton, Barker, Garner, Mattless (Rayner), Emmington, Rawson, Burrows (Saunders), Clarke (Gibson), Friend, Gillies, Warren. Subs (not used): Liddy, Crombie.

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