Dereham’s baptism of fire continues

WOMEN'S EAST CONFERENCE: Dereham 0, Horsham 6The baptism of fire continued on Saturday as Dereham Ladies were thrashed by Horsham in their first home game at a new level.

The Dereham strategy has to be changed otherwise they will become the whipping girls of the National League Conference East.

No doubt coach Karen Cleaver will make Dereham put their energy into defending and keeping the ball out of the net.

When skilful teams are allowed to run down the centre at the defence there is only so much that can be done.

Goalkeeper Jess Purser made countless saves, and the defence made hundreds of tackles, but on the law of averages they were never going to keep out all the attempts on goal, of which there were over 30.

The forwards must tuck in and the team has to half court press.

The prize of National League must not be lost and Dereham will have to adapt to this new challenge quickly if they are to avoid further embarrassment. Their next game is at Old Loughtonians on Sunday.

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Horsham scored at regular intervals, with Fran Crossley getting four of the goals and Zeph Fisher and Stephanie Dent one apiece.

Harleston Magpies 0, Surbiton 2

Magpies Ladies were beaten at home by Surbiton in their first home league game of the season.

Magpies knew this was going to be a tough fixture, with Surbiton winning 5-1 the previous week against Dereham, and went into the game without Bryony Lund, who was unavailable due to a family wedding.

During the first half, Magpies defended well and absorbed considerable pressure from the opposition. However, they conceded just before half-time when Helen Grant cut through several players before scoring from a tight angle at the top of the circle.

Magpies continued to battle hard throughout the second half, with Debbie Francis picking off important tackles in midfield and Charlotte Lee-Smith having another solid game in goal, pulling off some important saves to keep Magpies in the game.

Charlotte Harrison and Emily Wilford troubled the Surbiton defence down the left flanks and orchestrated some of the best attacks of the game.

Surbiton's second goal came 10 minutes from the end after another incisive run, enabling an easy finish on the post from Vicky Bryant.

Magpies can be encouraged by a much improved performance from the previous week, when they lost 5-0 at Chelmsford, and will look to continue building on this performance when they face Horsham away on Sunday.