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March Town grab late draw against Ely City in Thurlow Nunn Premier Division



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March Town snatched a 93rd minute equaliser to earn a share of the spoils after a tightly-contested local derby against Ely City.

The Hares were behind twice at the GER Sports Ground, equalising on both occasions during what was a topsy turvy affair.

Ely striker Ryan Gibbs gave his side the lead early in the second half and celebrated by shushing the crowd, before Craig Gillies bundled one home for the hosts.

March celebrate Sam Green's 93rd minute equaliser
March celebrate Sam Green's 93rd minute equaliser

Gillies then missed a penalty for the second week running, and his error was punished as away captain Tom Williams pounced to give his side a 2-1 advantage.

March’s luck looked to have run out when substitute Sam Green had a stoppage time effort ruled out for offside, but the same player scored just seconds later to send the home fans into raptures.

Manager Ashley Taylor admitted the contest had been a scrappy one at times, and he wasn’t wrong - Ely were particularly happy to send hopeful long balls into March’s third for long periods of the game, but the hosts were guilty of it themselves at times.

March celebrate their first equaliser
March celebrate their first equaliser

Both sides looked most dangerous when they got the ball down and found their wide players, and it was no surprise that two goals came from the flanks.

Gibbs’ opener for Ely was a brilliant solo effort, with the imposing striker running inside at the heart of the home defence before firing past Charlie Congreve.

However, it was March’s first equaliser that perfectly epitomised their most dangerous option on the afternoon - right back Sam Garner.

Garner gave Ely’s Brett Wyman a headache all afternoon, twisting inside and out in continuous bids to find crossing positions.

The contest was a scrappy one at times
The contest was a scrappy one at times

He ventured forward somewhat sporadically in the first half as March’s back four erred on the side of caution, but took up higher positions more frequently in the second period.

And he was rewarded just minutes after Ely’s opener when he feinted to the byline and picked out Gillies, who threw himself in to bring things level.

Garner was then involved in March’s last gasp equaliser as well, even if it was in a lesser role.

Charlie Congreve claims a cross
Charlie Congreve claims a cross

He played a smart one-two with hero Green out on the right flank, who then bounced another pass off Eoin McQuaid before finishing on the stretch.

It was a brilliant team goal, and Green’s influence on proceedings can’t be underestimated either; he brought a degree of calmness in the centre of the park when required and then a bundle of energy just when his side needed it most.

Jack Friend wasn’t as clinical as he’s been in recent weeks, but can take heart from the fact he still fashioned a number of chances for himself. On another day, he’d have taken at least one of them.

Craig Gillies lines up his penalty...
Craig Gillies lines up his penalty...

Captain Danny Emmington was solid throughout and marshalled his back line well, with a particularly strong slide tackle drawing loud cheers.

He did make one lazy first half error that nearly seen Gibbs lob Emmington, but his effort was just over the bar.

Eoin McQuaid wasn't as involved as he would have hoped, and his creativity was missed.

... but sees it saved by Harry Reynolds
... but sees it saved by Harry Reynolds

Ely forward Jordan Foster’s pace was a nuisance all afternoon, and the likes of Adam Brumby and Garner had to be on their toes throughout.

All in all, it was a solid performance from March. They didn’t do too much wrong defensively despite conceding twice, and both goals were well worked as well as dramatic.

On another day the Hares would have taken all three points - they were well in the ascendancy when Gillies missed his pivotal penalty and would surely have gone on to win if he’d netted.

After his miss, March fell into a slump - but it was testament to their character that they managed to find that late, late equaliser.

Getting a foot on the ball
Getting a foot on the ball

They remain seventh-placed in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division ahead of a trip to basement boys Swaffham Town next Saturday.

March and Ely gear up for kick-off
March and Ely gear up for kick-off
Danny Emmington taking control
Danny Emmington taking control
Eoin McQuaid hangs onto the ball
Eoin McQuaid hangs onto the ball
March Town FC v Ely City FC
March Town FC v Ely City FC
March in action on Saturday
March in action on Saturday
Ryan Gibbs' opener nestles in Charlie Congreve's net
Ryan Gibbs' opener nestles in Charlie Congreve's net
Ashley Taylor praised his side's spirit
Ashley Taylor praised his side's spirit
A big crowd at the GER Sports Ground
A big crowd at the GER Sports Ground
Football Action March Town FC v Ely City FC. (54432603)
Football Action March Town FC v Ely City FC. (54432603)
March on the attack
March on the attack
Putting on the pressure
Putting on the pressure
Jack Friend brings down a lofted pass
Jack Friend brings down a lofted pass
Ely fend off an attack
Ely fend off an attack
Gillies follows in an effort on goal
Gillies follows in an effort on goal
Hares fans in ecstasy behind the goal
Hares fans in ecstasy behind the goal
Danny Emmington preparing for kick-off
Danny Emmington preparing for kick-off
Taran Moxon was booked for a cynical first-half challenge
Taran Moxon was booked for a cynical first-half challenge
The contest was a scrappy one at times
The contest was a scrappy one at times
The referee did well to calm things down at points
The referee did well to calm things down at points
March's home support of 271 were in fine form
March's home support of 271 were in fine form


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