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Hares impress to edge seven goal thriller in the wind and rain

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March Town 4, Diss Town 3

Thurlow Nunn League division one north

For 60 minutes this afternoon The Hares were magnificent as they overcame fellow promotion hopefuls The Tangerines in atrocious conditions at Robingoodfellow's Lane. They started the game slowly and lost concentration late on but in between they defied the heavy rain and strong wind to put in a great performance.

Jack Friend scores his first of the afternoon.
Jack Friend scores his first of the afternoon.

They played out nicely from the back, were always moving to create plenty of spaces and looked a constant threat going forward.

In fact, the whole team impressed but manager Brett Whaley, who missed this game due to a holiday, will be delighted that central defender Gavin Cooke returned after eight weeks out with a ligament injury, put in an assured performance after a rusty start and lasted 90 minutes.

Toby Allen, who according to assistant manager Chris Lenton, has been inconsistent this season, was superb up front and ran the show for the Hares, whereas Jack Friend took both his goals well but also showed great movement and a good touch as he put in a complete centre forward's performance.

But the Hares started badly when some sloppy defending saw visiting captain Charlie Webb nip in to give the visitors a sixth minute lead. March came straight back and Allen saw an effort saved before Tarren Moxon's superb 25-yard effort drew the scores level after 12 minutes.

Back came Diss, with Webb's second, from outside the box, putting them back in control at 2-1 after 15 minutes. But then March, with the wind behind them, sprang into life and dominated large chunks of the game.

The lethal Friend made no mistake when he slotted home after a measured through ball by Allen after 32 minutes and Moxon went close again before Friend, so assured inside the box, once again fired home in the dying seconds of the first half.

After the break, Allen did really well to jump and get his head on to a high Jamie Short cross after 50 minutes, hitting the bar. Then Craig Gillies put over from close range as March pushed for a fourth.

March celebrate their first goal.
March celebrate their first goal.

But Diss weren't done and the unsighted Charlie Congreve had to make a great save from Ryan Fuller's 64th minute free kick, before the rebound was stabbed just wide.

It was tricky conditions for the home side, with the wind blowing the driving rain into their faces now, but they battled on. Friend went close to his hat-trick when he blazed over the bar in the 69th minute but seconds later it was four, Allen dribbling in from the left and capping a man-of-the-match performance by unleashing an unstoppable pile driver from 25 yards.

Diss still threw men forward though and forced a couple more good saves from Congreve in the home goal before an effort from Lane was rightly ruled out for offside. They did get a goal back in the final minute, when Matt Aldis got his head on Webb's cross but, despite concerted pressure for the three minutes of injury time, there were no real chances and March deservedly held on.

Toby Allen (8) was superb for March.
Toby Allen (8) was superb for March.

Assistant manager Chris Lenton said after the game: "For the first 20 minutes we weren't great and stood off them and let in two sloppy goals but for the next 25 we played really well, were really brave on the ball, kept it, had good possession and scored some good goals.

"We started off really well in the second half, controlled the game and should have had more goals. The only thing I can moan about is the last goal, where we just switched off. Lack of concentration has hurt us once or twice this season, so it's something we should look at in training."

And, after back-to-back defeats, Lenton added: "The squad was stretched with injuries and suspensions against Rothwell but last week at Fakenham we played as 11 individuals against a good team - I'm surprised they're only 12th.

March dominated much of the game.
March dominated much of the game.

"We pride ourselves on togetherness and being a team and that was evident today."

Looking forward to next Saturday's away game against second-place Mulbarton, Lenton added: "It will be a really tough challenge. Hopefully we get a chance to train midweek so we can work on a few things. But we're confident and positive and that's what's important."

March: Congreve, Short, Gibson, Cooke, Emmington, Rothery, Moxon (Callaghan 75 mins), Allen, Friend, Gillies, Burrows (Tsaguim 70). Subs (not used): Lenton, Hamza, B Warren.

Diss: McCrae, Hooton, McIntosh, Lucraft, Hitch, Taylor, Swift, Aldis, Fuller, Baughurst, Webb. Subs: Chamberlain, Lane, Goodloin, Shade, Halil.

The Hares management team, minus holidaying manager Brett Whaley.
The Hares management team, minus holidaying manager Brett Whaley.

Referee: Brian O'Sullivan.

Goals: Webb (Diss) 6 mins, Moxon (March 12), Webb (Diss 15), Friend (March 32 and 45), Allen (March) 70, Aldis (Diss) 89.

Booking: Callaghan (March) - foul.

Man of the match: Toby Allen - full of running, energy and creativity. Created Friend's first goal and scored a scorcher himself.

Attendance: 80.


All the other results from today

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