Brightlingsea 2 Dereham Town 1: Magpies make early exit
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
Dereham Town's hopes of progressing in the FA Trophy were ended by fellow Ryman North Division side Brightlingsea Regent.
On a hard playing surface they came close twice in the early stages; home defender Josh Gould was fortunate not to head Adam Smith's free-kick into his own net, then from another quality Smith free-kick Jake Anema headed inches over the top.
However, it was Brightlingsea who opened the scoring in the 20th minute when the ball fell kindly to Aaron Condon and he beat keeper Will Viner with a low left-footed drive.
Regent continued to press with Gould heading into Viner's arms and Condon firing wide. They then missed a good chance when Shamido Pedulu headed Phil Kelly's centre over the bar from close range with 27 minutes gone.
Dereham replied with striker Joe Gatting cushioning a header just over from Danny Beaumont's ball into the box.
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The Magpies drew level in the 39th minute following excellent play between Ryan Crisp and Beaumont.
Crisp received keeper Viner's long clearance and found Beaumont who clipped a superb ball over the home defence into the forward's path enabling him to progress before beating keeper Ollie Bowes with a precise low drive.
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Dereham made a good start to the second half with Crisp and Smith having efforts blocked. They were then denied what looked like a penalty when keeper Bowles fouled Rhys Logan. As the visitors maintained their pressure Gatting headed Crisp's corner inches off target.
Brightlingsea responded with Robbie Linford being forced into a good challenge to thwart Condon in an advanced position. Dereham keeper Viner then threw himself to his left to make a good save from Gould's snap header following Condon's free-kick in the 60th minute.
Play was now open and Crisp flicked James Grant's ball from the right into Bowles' arms.
Minutes later Crisp hit a fierce 20-yard drive wide. However, it was Brightlingsea who regained the lead in the 78th minute through Matt Cripps' 25-yard drive.
Dereham keeper Viner made another good save to keep our Pedulu's powerful effort and keep Dereham in the game.
Grant fired wide from distance as the visitors tried in vain to net the equaliser.
Brightlingsea: O Bowles, H McDonald, J Gould, C Witherspoon, J Gould, M Cripps, S Pedulu, J Turner; P Kelly, R Griggs, A Condon. Subs: D Beason, J Barnett, A Reakes, M McKenzie, R Harvey.
Dereham: W Viner, J Grant, J Anema, D Hinton, D Frary, R Linford, R Logan (C Bussens 82nd min), A Smith, J Gatting, D Beaumont (W Sainsbury-Logan 84th min), R Crisp. Subs: H Black, T Wright.
Ref: Miss A Marriott