'We will go there with a clear plan' - Dereham boss; plus, ECL and Ang Com
PUBLISHED: 16:23 01 March 2019 | UPDATED: 16:23 01 March 2019
The pressure may be off Dereham Town when they carry the underdog tag at Bostik North high-fliers Maldon & Tiptree today, but manager Adam Gusterson has insisted the Magpies will be able to cope with "a different challenge".
It has proved a week of opposites for Dereham, who were beaten 3-2 at home by Brentwood last weekend but then thrashed Swaffham 6-1 in the Norfolk Senior Cup semi-finals on Wednesday, in-form striker Joe Gating helping himself to a hat-trick.
Maldon & Tiptree are a different proposition to both: they are currently third in the table, but with a game in hand over second-placed Heybridge Swifts.
Dereham shook off the disappointment of Brentwood in midweek, but Gusterson has a realistic view of the situation.
“We were disappointed with last weekend against Brentwood,” he said. “We weren’t quite at it and it served as a reminder that every point in this league is earned through the level of performance.
“On another day we could have easily got something from the game but we can’t get too disappointed with defeats or too carried away with victories and I was really pleased with our response Wednesday night against Swaffham.
“I was delighted that despite going behind we stuck to the game plan and continued to pass the ball and work the opposition.
“Saturday will present a different challenge.
“Maldon & Tiptree are favourites to win the game so in that respect the pressure is off, but we will go there with a clear plan to try and get a result.
“It will be different to midweek and last Saturday where the onus was on us to try and dictate the play and therefore we may set up slightly differently than we have in recent weeks as we now have the personnel to be able to do that effectively as well as being really offensive with our set-up and approach.
“Every game is massive for us as we enter the final ten games of the season and I feel we go into the run-in in a positive frame of mind to get the points we need to stay in the division.”
Jay Eastoe-Smith, Lewis Johnson and keeper Elliot Pride are unavailable, so Jake Cox will again deputise between the sticks as he did at Basildon. Matt Castellan and Shaun Wones, cup tied against Swaffham, return.
Eastern Counties League
Norwich United manager Cedric Anselin has returned to Carrow Road to secure the services of Norwich City Academy scholar and midfielder Finlay Barnes until the end of the season – and the 18-year-old comes straight into the squad for the Premier Division match against Kirkley & Pakefield at Plantation Park.
“Finlay has a great touch and good vision as well as the right attitude and this gives him the chance to show what he can do,” said Anselin.
Haydn Davis returns having been unavailable for the 1-0 defeat at Woodbridge. Jordan Forbes and Max Lane are also available after being on Norfolk U18 duty last week but the Planters will be without the suspended Sam Applegate and Ben Jones.
Great Yarmouth insist they will fight to the bitter end as the prospect of relegation looms large.
The Bloaters host Walsham-le-Willows is desperate need of points – with only one team below them in the table. Their cause wasn’t helped by a 2-1 midweek home defeat by FC Clacton.
“This was another narrow defeat against a good Clacton side which sees us right in the thick of a relegation battle, but despite this we have to dig deep and fight for every possible point available to us,” said joint manager Martyn Sinclair. “We will never throw in the towel.”
Neighbours Gorleston travel to fifth-placed Wroxham, Norwich United host Kirkley & Pakefield and Thetford Town are at home to Ely City.
Sheringham bid to make it nine Premier Division wins in a row when they travel to Norwich Ceyms today.
The Shannocks are pulling out all the stops as they attempt to rein in leaders Caister – who are six points ahead but have played two more games.
Caister will know there is no margin for error when they entertain St Andrews, while Long Stratton – third, level on points with Sheringham – are at home to sixth-placed Wymondham.