Andy Wilton keeps Chatham Town at bay but Dereham Town still drop home points
- Credit: Archant
Dereham were thankful to in-form goalkeeper Andy Wilton as they shared the points with Chatham.
On a dull afternoon at Aldiss Park, play was scrappy, with Dereham building well through the midfield but attacks falling apart through sloppy final passes.
Lewis Sturman saw yellow on 32 minutes for a foul on Craig Hewitt and from 30 yards out, Matt Solly fired the free-kick wide of Wilton's goal. Dereham were soon back on the offensive and took the lead with a well-worked goal.
Michael Clunan found Toby Hilliard on the left and he delivered the ball back to the midfielder on the edge of the box, enabling him to beat Chatham keeper Thomas Wellham with a superbly-executed finish from 28 yards in the 34th minute.
Chatham came close in the 50th minute when Hewitt won possession 40 yards out and forced Wilton into a fine full-length save as the home keeper turned his attempted chip onto his left-hand post.
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The Essex side continued to press, with Wilton called into action twice more to keep out Greg Benbow's well-struck 18-yard drive before denying the same player from close range after receiving Phil Kane's ball from the right.
Dereham responded, with Aaron Kay delivering a dangerous free-kick to the far post that forced keeper Wellham to concede a corner.
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After clearing the danger, Joe Loft tried his luck with a long-range effort from a central position in the 65th minute that Wilton initially spilled before making a fine save from the rebound – only to see the ball hit the net via Laurence Collins' body.
Dereham pressed for the winner with both substitute Ryan Hawkins and Matt Hockley going close in the latter stages, but in the end the game finished all square.
The Magpies sit eighth but with games in hand on all but one of the sides above them.