It’s a baptism of fire for new Dereham Town managers

Action from Dereham Town's match against Heybridge Swifts Picture: Alan Palmer Photography

Action from Dereham Town's match against Heybridge Swifts Picture: Alan Palmer Photography - Credit: Archant

New Dereham Town managers Adam Gusterson and Olly Willis are preparing for another tough challenge after enduring a baptism of fire against Heybridge Swifts at the weekend.

The first match of a new era at Aldiss Park saw the Magpies beaten 3-1 by Julian Dicks' promotion-chasing outfit, despite taking the lead and going on to give a decent account of themselves. The result left Dereham four points adrift at the foot of the table - and it doesn't get any easier on Saturday, with third placed Aveley the visitors.

There is then a brief break from league action, with a trip to Diss Town in the Norfolk Senior Cup quarter-finals coming up next Tuesday evening, before a return to reality with a visit to fifth placed Coggeshall on Saturday week.

Gusterson and Willis could hardly have picked three more challenging games to introduce them to the rigours of life in Bostik League North. But they will go into the weekend in a positive frame of mind after watching their new charges give Heybridge a good run for their money in front of a crowd of more than 300.

'It's great to be back and there were lots of positives to take from the game,' said Gusterson. 'It was a good performance and gave us something positive to build on going forward.'

Willis added: 'They were a well organised team with a lot of good players and in the first half we competed with them very well. In the second half their class shone through and they probably deserved to win in the end.

'It was a positive performance for the most part. We got an early lead, caused them a few problems and stayed in the game. We certainly can't fault the effort of the lads, they worked their socks off, and it was also great to see so many people there.'

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Former Dereham players Willis and Gusterson knew exactly what was coming when they decided to leave Harleston Town to return to the club following the dismissal of Neal Simmons.

'When we first got offered the job we looked at the early fixtures and thought 'what are we letting ourselves in for?' said Willis. 'But I think having tough games is good for the boys because they need to be up for them. And if we can pick up points against Aveley and Coggeshall then that will set us up for what looks like a nice little run of games after that.'

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