Local round-up: In-form Dereham going for five in a row
Can Dereham keep their run going? Will Wroxham stay in the race? Who wins the big Anglian Combination match of the day? CHRIS LAKEY takes a look at this weekend's local football action
There’s no hiding the fact the secret is well and truly out - Dereham Town are on an absolute roll.
The Magpies have moved off the bottom of the table and will be looking for their fifth straight win when Brentwood Town head to Aldiss Park. Only leaders Bowers & Pitsea are in better current form.
And while manager Adam Gusterson is rightly proud of his players, whose 4-3 win over bottom club Romford a week ago lifted them four places and 10 points off the bottom, there is a definite warning they are not out of the woods just yet.
“Last weekend was a hugely important three points for us at Romford,” said Gusterson.
“Our mentality going into the big games recently has been second to none and I can’t speak highly enough of the lads since we have come in.
“You learn a lot about players when big games come along, the games where you know deep down you have to win and they have delivered in all these moments so far for us.
“We cannot change our approach – every point is crucial for us in reaching our objective of staying in this division. Going into February we were eight points adrift of Soham Town Rangers and two adrift of Mildenhall Town. If results go our way this weekend we could go into March four clear of Soham and 10 clear of Mildenhall, which demonstrates just how much the picture in this division can change and also how quickly it can.
“We’ve got to make sure we are not one of the teams that has a good run, but then gets dragged back in like some other clubs have.
“We have to take massive confidence and belief from recent performances and as a group ensure that the standards set do not drop and that we continue to get the results needed to climb up the table.
“Every game in this division is tough and we know that we have to be at our best again if we are to keep the run going and pull ourselves further away from the bottom two.”
Jay Eastoe-Smith returns to the Dereham squad along with goalkeeper Elliot Pride after both were unavailable last weekend. Adam Smith also returns from the hip injury which kept him out. Danny Beaumont is suspended while Owen Murphy and Lewis Johnson are on county duty, playing in Norfolk’s FA County Youth Cup semi-final game against Cheshire at Ellesmere Port today.
Wroxham will be looking for maximum points when they head to bottom club Framlingham Town. The Yachtsmen are effectively top of a mini league of clubs chasing the top three and know dropped points could prove costly.
They head to Framlingham – who have won just four times in 28 attempts this season – level on points with Walsham-le-Willows, two ahead of Stowmarket and three ahead of Brantham. Ahead of them are Godmanchester Rovers and Woodbridge, both three points better off, with leaders Histon a further five points to the good.
Wroxham could do with neighbours Norwich United doing them a favour – the Planters head to Woodbridge.
Kirkley & Pakefield have the toughest job of the day as they head to Histon.
Thetford have a trip to Newmarket Town while Gorleston will be aiming to get a painful 4-0 midweek home defeat by Woodbridge out of their systems when they travel to Brantham. Great Yarmouth Town are without a game at the weekend but are in action at The Wellesley on Tuesday, with FC Clacton providing the opposition.
In the First Division, leaders Harleston host Leiston Reserves, Mulbarton are at Needham Market Reserves. Third-placed Swaffham are without a game – they face Dereham in the semi-finals of the Norfolk Senior Cup at the FDC in Norwich on Wednesday.
Match of the day is on the north Norfolk coast where Sheringham host Long Stratton – third versus second.
Sheringham are perfectly placed – they are three points behind their visitors and six behind leaders Caister, but have two games in hand on them both. The Shannocks are the Premier Division’s highest scorers, with 67 goals in 19 games – 27 coming in their last five.
Caister will be looking to bounce back after their 3-1 home defeat by Waveney last weekend when they entertain eighth-placed Mattishall. Wymondham, in fourth, have a trip to Wroxham Reserves. Elsewhere, Acle host near neighbours Blofield, Beccles are at home to Norwich Ceyms, bottom club Norwich United U21s face visiting Hellesdon, Scole go to St Andrews and Waveney are at home to Bradenham Wanderers.