Dereham Town 1 Heybridge Swifts 3
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Dereham Town couldn't have asked for a more testing start to the season than the bookmakers' favourites for the title and it was a well organised and strong Heybridge side that snatched all three points from this opening day affair.
The Magpies were playing their first ever game at step four of the non-league ladder and came under pressure in the early stages, but defended well and Magpies keeper Andy Wilton made a string of impressive saves to keep the scoreline level.
After riding the storm early on, Town started to come into the game after 20 minutes and looked like a fitter and more athletic side as they caused Heybridge numerous problems on the counter.
The best chance for Town to break the deadlock fell to Luke Tuttle who headed just wide after a far post cross from Ryan Hawkins.
Then with 41 minutes played Luke Callander gave the visitors the lead after some poor marking from the hosts. Soon after the restart Sam Borrer went down in the penalty area after some good work from Tuttle and the referee pointed to the spot. Danny Beaumont stepped up and converted the spot-kick to pull Town level.
After the equaliser Dereham began to gain momentum and were unlucky not to take the lead during a frantic goal mouth scramble just two minutes after the restart.
However, the Town spell of pressure was brought to an abrupt end after five minutes when Callander bagged his second of the afternoon with a powerful cross-cum-shot.
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Then while Dereham were pressing for a second equaliser, Swifts substitute Aaron Greene found the net on the stroke of time to make it 1-3 to the visitors.
Dereham: Wilton, O Willis, Hawkins, Borrer, Morphew, Gusterson, Howell (S Willis 66), Smith, Gilfedder (Downes 66), Tuttle, Beaumont. Subs not used: Bussens, Eastoe-Smith, Kay.
Heybridge: Eyre, Doyle, Barber, King, Hastings, Kersey, Malton (Haldstock), Dobinson, Callander, Morgan, Newson (Greene).
Referee: Mr. H. Cutmore