Photo gallery: Dereham Town draw 1-1 with Met Police in FA Cup
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Dereham Town just failed to nick a win against the Met Police on Saturday – but the Magpies’ FA Cup dream is still alive after a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Aldiss Park.
Super sub Shaun Bammant ensured Dereham were in the hat for the fourth qualifying round draw, where they have been paired with South Park if they can win the replay.
Dereham will travel to their Ryman League opponents on Wednesday night - kick off 8pm - with belief they can still spring a shock.
In front of a 328-crowd, the Londoners – who are two rungs above Dereham on the football ladder – took the lead in the 10th minute following a defensive mix-up.
But an inspired change after the break by Dereham boss Matt Henman paid dividends within two minutes as Bammant netted.
Assistant manager Neal Simmons said: “The lads did well today and it was a real team effort and everyone has and will play a big part this season.”
Bammant – who has been missing from the team due to injury and suspension – was delighted to have made such an instant impact after coming on.
“I think I only had two touches and it was good to start like that,” he said. “It was just a shame we couldn’t push on to get another goal. But it gives us a second chance.”
Bammant scored four goals for the reserves last Wednesday and added: “It is just good to be playing again. It’s just a shame I couldn’t have saved those four goals for today!”
Met Police threatened first with a Tyron Smith free-kick and then a corner failed to trouble the home goal.
Craig Bowen was given far too much space and turned inside before hitting a left footer over the top as Dereham made a nervy start. Luke Hannant fired way over for the Magpies following a corner but from their next attack in the 11th minute the Met Police took the lead.
Bowen crossed from the right with Adam Gusterson leaving the ball after a call from the keeper Andy Wilton. The ball agonisingly went in to the net with Wilton looking on as if he was still waiting for his defender to clear.
Olly Willis made a strong run forward in the 18th minute and after weaving into the box the Dereham skipper drilled the ball over the bar from an acute angle.
As play switched ends Matt Howard made a timely clearance at the far post as the Met Police again found space and delivered a deep centre from the right.
Olly Willis was yellow carded for a wild challenge on Howard Newton and the Met Police looked comfortable as they enjoyed an interval lead.
But that all changed thanks to the substitution.
Luke Tuttle sent Bammant on his way with a short pass and he progressed before beating keeper Smalley with a low left foot drive to the delight of the home supporters in the 47th minute. The goal lifted the Magpies’ spirits and they began to play with more belief.
The hosts had to withstand a spell of pressure before they won a corner in the 73rd minute after a goalmouth scramble. Adam Gusterson struck a crisp left footer narrowly over the visitors’ bar.
The visitors won another free kick on time just outside the box but Tyron Smith failed to trouble the resilient home defence.
Olly Willis had to be stretchered off in injury-time as Dereham continued to search for the winner.
Dereham: Wilton, O Willis, S Willis, Hannant, Howard, Gusterson, Howell, Borrer, Sutherland-Gray, Tuttle, Bussens. Subs: Bammant, Colman, Kay, Roberts, A Smith, Ramm, Fox.
*Dereham are running a coach to the replay and it is now sold out, leaving Aldiss Park at 2pm. Admission to the match will be £10 adults, £5 concessions.
*For those travelling independently, Met Police’s ground is: Imber Court, Metropolitan Police Sports Club, Ember Lane, East Molesey, Surrey KT8 0BT
*See our website www.edp24.co.uk for a gallery of pictures from Saturday’s game.
*Match highlights can be seen at www.thefa.com/TheFACup.
*We will be providing updates on our websites www.edp24.co.uk and www.derehamtimes24.co.uk via our reporters Ian Clarke and Gavin Caney and photographer Ian Burt who will be at the game. There will also be a report and pictures in Thursday’s EDP.
You can follow Ian and Gavin on Twitter - @IanClarke41 and @GavinCaney