Cheshunt 0 Dereham Town 1: Debut boy proves match-winner

Dereham Town boss Matt Henman.

Dereham Town boss Matt Henman. - Credit: IAN BURT

A late scrappy goal by debutant Ross Bailey ensured Dereham's play-off chasing side gained another three points following a tight game at Theobalds Lane.

The Magpies wasted an early chance when Jay Eastoe-Smith headed Michael Clunan's free-kick off target before Cheshunt had a chance of their own but 'keeper Andy Wilton saved Lewis Payne's header well. The Magpies missed a good opportunity when Ryan Hawkins headed Frazer Blake-Tracy's ball from the left wide when well placed. They were then denied by a great save from home keeper Richard Heywood who leapt backwards to tip Craig Bussens' powerful header over the top following Hawkins' centre from the right in the 22nd minute. Dereham were now controlling the game – but Ben Anderos tried a long-distance effort for the Ambers that failed to trouble keeper Wilton. In the 37th minute the home side won a free-kick on the edge of the box, but Mitch Hahn curled the ball into Wilton's arms. After the break Hawkins fired a cross-cum-shot over the top after Aaron Kay had lifted the ball into his path. A good run by Hawkins just failed to unlock the home defence and as Dereham continued to search for the elusive opening goal Clunan dragged a volley wide.

Cheshunt came close in the 61st minute as Anderos burst down the right before drilling a low drive inches wide. Cheshunt's Jamie Smyth fired into Wilton's arms before Jacob Cleaver struck the visitors' post with a superb 20-yarder.

The hosts came close again in the 78th minute when Jamie Smyth saw his well-struck drive brilliantly saved by Wilton at full stretch.

Dereham finally broke the deadlock in the 85th minute when Clunan's initial shot was saved by Heywood, but the rebound fell to Bailey, whose close-range deflected effort at the far post found the net for the match winner.