Championship race opens up

The race for the Ridgeons League championship took a new turn with home defeats for Dereham and Wroxham setting up Leiston for a move into second place.

Leaders Dereham suffered a shock 5-1 reverse at the hands of bottom-five side Brantham while Wroxham went down 3-2 to Stanway at Trafford Park.

Leiston, 52 points from 21 games, with a fixture backlog from their continuing FA Vase run, now trail Dereham by three points with three games in hand.

Wroxham (50 points from 25 games) slip to fourth behind Haverhill (51 from 25).

With team boss David Batch absent, Wroxham supporters saw Stanway complete a double.

In the 35th minute Gav Lemmon earned a home penalty which was tucked away by Damian Hilton. Only five minutes later Steven Bourne equalised.

Early Wroxham' pressure second half forced a second penalty which was converted by Damian Hilton for 2-1.

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Stanway equalised from a corner, Kevin Hughes heading home at the back post

But the visitors went down to 10 men when Steve Bourne pulled up after all the subs had been used.

With Wroxham pushing forward for the winner, the visitors surprised them on the break and a good run and finish by Ben Newson gave Stanway all three points.

Norwich United lost an open game 3-2 at Woodbridge, but felt a controversial refereeing decision cost them an equaliser their performance deserved.

Twice the Planters trailed but goals from Steve Shipley and Lee Hunter saw them twice equalise.

Tom Jeal looked to have squared for a third time but Ipswich referee Euan Goodman had already blown for a foul on Shipley rather than play the advantage.

Woodbridge went ahead when the Planters failed to clear a corner and Ben Miller poked home.

United were level in the 14th minute, Lee Hunter racing into the box on the right and his driven cross diverted home by Shipley, whose glancing touch at the near post went in off the far post.

Woodbridge were back in front eight minutes later when a cross from the left was headed home by Sam Banya, once again via the far post.

The Planters were denied a penalty when Ross King appeared to be brought to ground in the Woodbridge area, but United were back on level terms soon after following the goal of the game in the 37th minute.

Claydon flicked on a long ball forward and Cory turned beautifully before releasing Hunter with a sublime pass. Hunter's driven shot gave Dixon no chance.

Woodbridge took the lead for the third time nine minutes into the second half, a free-kick wide on the right put in at the far post by James Hubbard's looping header.

Great Yarmouth Town's first visit to Wisbech's new ground saw a narrow 3-2 win for the home side.

Goals from Jake Reed and Gavin Norman looked to have given Yarmouth a point but the Fenmen gained a late winner to deny the Bloaters what would have been a well-earned share of the spoils.

Yarmouth took an 18th minute lead when the Wisbech goalkeeper failed to play to the whistle.

Vainly awaiting a free-kick for a supposed foul by Reed, he could only watch as the Bloaters' leading scorer went past him to put the ball in the back of the net for his fourth in the last four games.

But three minutes later the home side were level through an Andy Furnell header after a Wisbech free-kick had only been half-cleared.

Ashley Stevens headed a second Wisbech goal on 32 minutes and the Fenmen pressed Yarmouth hard in the closing stages of the half.

The Bloaters silenced the home crowd three minutes after the break with their second goal. It came from Gavin Norman after a Reed effort was only parried by home keeper Leo Jordan, and the visitors went on to have the better of the period and severely test Jordan and his defence.

Strong appeals for a handball offence in the home box went unheeded and Yarmouth went close on several occasions.

With regular keeper Michael Hilton suspended, Yarmouth had youth player Jake Jessup making a rare appearance between the sticks, and he, too, produced some great saves as he grew in confidence second half.

But it was the home side that came up with the goods in the 87th minute when, from a free-kick into the box, full-back Scott Johnson hooked a shot into the roof of the net.

Kirkley & Pakefield, now sixth, had a 3-1 win at Wivenhoe while Mildenhall, in fifth place, won 2-1 at Hadleigh.

Diss and Gorleston improved their promotion chances from the First Division with home wins.

The third-placed Tangerines saw off March 3-0 at Brewers Green Lane while the Greens dented Stowmarket's hopes of going up with a 4-0 success at Emerald Park.

The section is led by Cambridge University Press with 40 points from 19 games, Stowmarket have 36 from 17, ahead of Diss (36 from 18) on goal difference with Gorleston now on 34 points from 16 matches.

With discussions taking place about the size of the two Ridgeons divisions, however, high finishing positions may not automatically lead to promotion.

Downham, second bottom, took a point from mid-table Saffron Walden in a 3-3 draw.That takes Downham to 16 points from 22 games. They have the same points total as third-bottom Fakenham, but the Ghosts have played four games fewer.

In the KO Cup, Thetford beat visitors Long Melford 1-0.

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