Fakenham Town 3 March Town Utd 1: Matthews’ double helps Ghosts to pleasing home win

Fakenham Town manager Andy Cunningham has guided the Ghosts into a promising position going into Chr

Fakenham Town manager Andy Cunningham has guided the Ghosts into a promising position going into Christmas Picture: RONNIE HEYHOE - Credit: Archant

An Alby Matthews brace and a goal from the returning Connor Charlesworth guided Fakenham Town to a pleasing 3-1 victory over March Town United at Clipbush Park on Saturday.

It was an excellent team performance that more than made up for the 2-0 reverse against March in the First Division KO Cup back in early October.

A last minute change was forced when Matty Franks failed a late fitness test and was replaced by Dan Hogston, with Stephen Harvey coming onto the bench.

It was Fakenham who made the brighter start, with the first real chance falling to Matthews on 15 minutes when the March keeper Simon Palton just managed to stick a leg out when faced with a one-on-one. Two minutes later Matthews did open the scoring when he was put through, shot from 15 metres out and saw Palton push the shot onto the post. The ball rebounded back into Matthews’ path and he made no mistake with his shot.

There was nearly a second for Matthews a couple of minutes later after another one-on-one with the keeper but he couldn’t convert the chance. With the pace and movement of the Fakenham forward players causing all sorts of problems for the March defence, it was a beautifully worked move on 39 minutes that saw Matthews move into space, beat a defender and put in a simple cross for an unmarked Charlesworth to tap in for a 2-0 lead.

March responded with some incisive attacks, mainly the aerial route where they had some success in winning the ball and moving it down the flanks to put in a number of dangerous crosses, and at times only some last-ditch defending cleared the danger. But on 39 minutes March dragged themselves back into the game when Jack Friend received the ball on the edge of the area and his crisp turn and volley beat Coombe for a really nice finish.

A 2-1 half-time lead was more than deserved for the hosts and they continued in the same attacking vein in the second half, with Matthews, Exley, Curtis and Charlesworth all combining to keep the pressure on. After 56 minutes, Matthews increased the lead with a good goal, benefiting from the work of Exley and Charlesworth, who played him in on goal.

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Fakenham then saw out the game with few alarms to seal a win that moved them up to fourth in the Thurlow Nunn League Division One North table, 11 points behind second placed Mulbarton Wanderers with two games in hand. The Ghosts make the short journey to Downham Town on Saturday (3pm).