Young Ghosts full of promise

Fakenham Town 0, March Town 0

After an enforced two-week lay-off, Fakenham were in a positive frame of mind to take on a somewhat depleted Hares side in an effort to climb to a mid-table position.

With players either injured or unavailable, manager Wayne Anderson had no qualms about deploying his young local players, with six recent under-18 players in the squad.

And they didn’t let him down as they slowly found their feet in the hustle and bustle of Ridgeons League football, writes Paul Wright.

Fakenham started looking a bit disjointed as they struggled to complete passes and gave the ball away needlessly in dangerous areas, but March didn’t really look the kind of side who could take advantage of this.

Their first opportunity came in the tenth minute when they were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area that Menenez squandered with a weak shot into the arms of Tom Rix.

Fakenham had plenty of pace on either flank with Ed Skinner and Jake Betts, but most of the play was kept to the middle of the pitch where Fakenham were less effective.

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It took to the 23rd minute before Skinner was given a chance to exploit the width he found, his flighted cross was met by the head of defender Gault who gladly conceded the corner.

Betts was next to utilise his pace, picking up a loose ball well inside his own half and chasing into the penalty area before being squeezed out of possession by two defenders, Skinner once again turned provider, his cross headed over the bar by Toby Harris.

In the second half Fakenham took the initiative as they started to find the gaps in the visiting defence, but lacked the killer touch to turn their advantage into goals.

Keeper Brooke pulled off three fine saves to keep his side in the game, turning a Jason Pease free-kick round the post with his fingertips, blocking a shot from Harris, then denying Ben Coe a goal as he tipped his effort over the bar.

Fakenham’s best chance came after Coe, who chased tirelessly throughout the game, won a free ball on the left wing and beat the full-back to find Harris on the edge of the area. The youngster controlled the ball perfectly and flashed a volley that ended in the keeper’s midriff.

March had only one notable chance in the second period. Menenez unleashed a first-time shot from 25 yards that Rix was collected at the second attempt.

Ashley Manning and Alex Walpole replaced Betts and Skinner late in the game, and in the final moments Manning was put clear by a pass from Coe, but was fouled by the keeper outside the area. The referee leniently handed out a yellow card where he could easily have waved a red. The free-kick was wasted by offside.

Fakenham: Rix, Harvey, Pease, Hyde, Rawlings, Betts, Savory Skinner, Coe, Harris, Bamford. Subs: Greer, Manning, Walpole.

Tomorrow the Ghosts are at Cornard and on Tuesday play the return at March.

Fakenham Reserves, 3-2 winners at Caister Reserves, are at home to Watton Reserves on Saturday.