Monday 26th December 2011 ko 11.00am
Eastern Counties League Divsion One
MARCH TOWN UNITED 2 (Franks 19og Odain 62)
DOWNHAM TOWN 0
Entry & Programme £4
All Chocolate 50p
March’s football are team called the Hares, and to an outsider you’d think that’s just about all you can say about the place. It’s a far more interesting place than that, the town is actually an island on the now drained marshes that surround it, and the unusual name is in fact a corruption of the names of the two settlements that made up the town, Merche and Mercheford. Dart player Kevin “The Artist” Painter hails from the town.
March Town United play at the GER, or Great Eastern Railway Sports Ground, which is the other reason for the town’s existance. March was a major junction on the Great Northern and Great Eastern Railways, in fact the floodights at the ground are from the Great Eastern’s shunting yard in the town. One of the fences behind a goal is held up by sleepers, seemingly from the same source.
None of which you notice when you pull into Robingoodfellows Lane. Its the wooden pitched roof stand that dominates, built in 1929. Its been lovingly maintained, a Stradivarius of football architecture. Not surprisingly smoking is banned anywhere near it! Its set a little back from the pitch, a relic of its past use for a greyhounds and occasionally speedway. The turnstile operater’s booth has been turned into a toilet, and the referee’s booth to the right is now used for hospitility.
The club made, in my opinion, an error in not providing hot food on a cold, blustery morning, perhaps they thought everyone would be still full from Christmas day! The club and its supporters were notably friendly, most of the information here is from them!
Sadly the game failed to live up to the surroundings, not the fault of the Hares, Downham were utterly lacking in attacking threat. So it rapidly became a case of how and when March were going to put the visitors away, and with the wind that wasn’t as as straightforward as you’d think. The opener came in bizarre circumstances, Matthew Franks’ shot was beautifully placed, past his own keeper!
The second half carried on in much the same vein, the highlight being the second goal. Ondre Odain collected the ball from a throw-in , executed a sharp one-two and eased past two defenders to the 18 yard line, and fired a left-foot shot into bottom right hand corner.
Downham subsituted, and altered formation to improve things, but it all added up to nothing more than two corners for the entire game. Disappointing, but the ground more than made up for it.