The season was slowly ticking to an end as we entered the penultimate month of the campaign with our safety in our own hands.
March started with a tricky test to relegation rivals Torquay United who were going through a sticky patch. It was a day to remember for fan Josh Brayshaw as he took up the role of fourth official following an injury to the match referee after just nine minutes. Aman Verma gave the hosts the lead with a thunderbolt of a shot which kissed the post on the way in leaving Jonny Maxted stranded after 25 minutes. Jake Lawlor picked up a booking as the first half came to a close and it proved very costly as seven minutes into the second 45 he received a second yellow and his marching orders for what looked like a harsh decision. It didn’t affect Adam Lockwood’s men though as nineteen minutes later a long ball was pumped forward to Jake Cassidy which struck him on the shoulder as it changed direction in the wind, the forward then rounded Brendan Moore in the Torquay goal to pull his side level. On the 72nd minute Will Hatfield scored what proved to be the winner with a neat finish following a Jonny Maxted assist.
Aldershot were the first visitors to Nethermoor in March and were on a nearly three month unbeaten run in the league. That record was set to be smashed though as Jordan Preston’s bustling run and calm finish 9 minutes after half-time was enough for a big three points for the Lions. The game was an excellent spectacle with both teams giving it their all.
A long trip south to Boreham Wood followed the Saturday after, a game which will not live long in the memory. The best chance for ourselves fell to Kevan Hurst in the second half but his shot flew comfortably over the bar. The game will be remembered for season ending injuries picked up by John Rooney and Elliot Green which gave academy graduate Will Wells his first team debut as he came on as a late substitute.
Another away game was up next with a trip to the Gateshead International Stadium on a cold Tuesday night to take on the Heed Army. We took a surprise lead after 15 minutes when Kevan Hurst’s cross found Jake Lawlor at the back post which saw the number 6 net following his return from a two game suspension. It looked to be enough for the points as Maxted and his defence stood strong, however Derek Asamoah’s mistake laid the ball off to Gateshead’s Wes York whose clinical finish sealed a point for the hosts.
The month ended on a poor note as Dover Athletic made the long trip North looking to keep up with the playoff chasing pack. They left with three points and four goals. Vanarama National League’s leading goalscorer Ricky Miller added two more to his tally and Ricky Modeste headed in before Ross Lafayette’s penalty in injury time put gloss on their win.