Sunday, 30 July 2017

March Town United 0 v 3 Holland

Saturday 29th July 2017
Eastern Counties League Division One
GER Sports Ground, March
Admission: £5.00
Programme: £1.00
Attendance: 97
Match Raring: 3

Following my morning game at Holbeach, the middle two local games organised for groundhoppers in the Peterborough and District League did not appeal to me at all, being at basic, roped off pitches. Although a visit to Spalding United appealed for its ideal geographical location en route to the evening game at Bourne, that match was only a friendly, and so I had a choice of games in the Eastern Counties League. I had originally planned to go to Wisbech St Mary for my 3pm game. However, as I was leaving my morning game at Holbeach, I changed my mind and decided to visit a ground with much more tradition and character to it and so I headed a little further south down to March.

The GER Sports Ground is located a few minutes walk northwards from March town centre, and although there is a turnstile block in one corner, this was not in use today, instead one has to enter the ground through the clubhouse located a short distance along the road to the other corner of the ground. The brick clubhouse is sensibly sized, if a little on the small side, and spectators pay their admission fee at a bar table before walking outside to get pitchside. Immediately to the left there is a tea bar window, whilst to the other side is the real stand-out feature of the ground, the large and imposing wooden stand. It is a sight to really savour in this day of bland metallic stands, looking attractive from the outside and with wooden benches to sit on inside. The teams used to come out from the middle of the stand, but the tunnel is now closed off, with the changing rooms now in the clubhouse building. Unfortunately the stand does not offer great views, with plenty of supporting pillars along the front to obstruct one's view, and it is also distant from the pitch, so floodlight pylons also get in the way. The grassy area between the stand and pitchside railing has some picnic tables on it. To the right of the stand, is a narrow control tower type building. Behind the far goal there is a grass bank behind pitchside hard standing. Unfortunately, spectators are not permitted access behind the other goal nor along the remaining length, despite there being a corrugated iron construction to cover a standing area to one side on the dugouts. There was certainly a warm and friendly feel to the place, and the ground combines well some modern facilities with its traditional jewel in the crown. However, the ground certainly is rather rough around the edges away from the clubhouse area and a little tidying up would not go a miss to improve the general appearance of the ground. The 32 page programme was the cheapest I encountered today, and probably the best too. It had an attractive cover, was well laid-out and had plenty of varied interesting reading material.

March Town United finished last season in 16th place in the 21 team Eastern Counties League Division One, while Holland, in their first season in senior football, finished in fifth place. Holland certainly had the better of the fixtures last season, winning 7-0 in at home and 1-4 away.

On a mainly cloudy afternoon, the visitors always seemed to have the upper hand, and they took the lead thanks to a superb goal, Keelan Sorrell hitting a volley from all of thirty yards and the ball flew into the net. They made it 0-2 on 33 minutes when Tom Holdstock was sent clear by a low ball through the defence, and he struck the ball low across the keeper and into the net from the edge of the area. That was how the scoreline remained at the break, with the visitors looking in control of the match.

March came out looking a better team after the break, and they came close a couple of times to halving the deficit, first a lovely low shot from the edge of the area went just wide of the post, whilst a free-kick was fumbled by the visiting keeper, and a follow up shot was scuffed  but was cleared off the line. It looked very close to a goal, and the linesman was well out of position to make a decision. Less than 2 minutes later, and Holland put the game to bed with another screamer, Holdstock bringing the ball forward a few steps before smashing the ball from outside of the area past the keeper and into the net. That killed the match as a contest, and it was Holland who looked much the more likely to score again.

So the early signs appear to indicate this season continuing in the same vein as last season for both clubs.

No comments: