Dereham Town and Norwich United both eager to atone for cup heartache
- Credit: Archant
There will be plenty of added motivation for Dereham Town and Norwich United when they meet in the Norfolk Senior Cup final at Carrow Road tonight.
Dereham lost last year's final to Wroxham and Norwich saw their Thurlow Nunn Premier Division title celebrations punctured by a 2-1 loss to Mildenhall in the Thurlow Nunn League Challenge Cup final last week.
It also pits the Planters against a Dereham side that they will be joining in Ryman League Division One North next season, after sealing their promotion to step four of the non-league pyramid.
They face a Magpies team who are looking to avenge a dramatic 3-2 defeat to Wroxham in last year's final, when a Jamie Forshaw penalty late in extra-time saw the Yachtsmen claim the bragging rights.
Asked if that defeat provides added motivation, Dereham boss Matt Henman said: 'A little bit, from the fact that we should have won the game last year and for large parts of that game were in control but some key moments went against us.
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'So we don't want to waste another chance to win a final.'
The Magpies' season finished almost three weeks ago with a 2-1 loss at Barkingside to finish in ninth place in Ryman North, 12 points adrift of the play-offs.
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Henman has kept his team ticking over with a few training sessions but has also allowed his players time to recover from a long season so they are fresh for the game – other than a 2-0 friendly win over Bradenham Wanderers at Aldiss Park in the Colin Wright Memorial Cup last Friday.
Henman feels his side have had a positive campaign though, adding: 'Definitely, particularly with a new squad and a lot of changes at the start of the year, which take a little bit of time to get into things at the start of the season.
'But this is a competition that we put a little bit of pressure on ourselves to get to the final of, so winning it would be a good way to finish the season.'
The Magpies know they will be without midfielder Sam Borrer, who missed the last month of the season due to a knee injury which will require surgery this summer.
Top scorer Luke Tuttle, who scored 26 goals in Ryman North this season, is also facing a late fitness test on a tight hamstring ahead of kick-off.
Dereham have reached the final on five occasions since the competition began way back in 1881, lifting the trophy three times, in 2006, 2007 and 2011. United have reached three finals but tasted defeat each time, losing 1-0 to Dereham in 2006 and most recently to Mattishall in 2010, losing 5-4 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
'We've already achieved back to back league titles which is massive,' said Planters boss John Edridge, who has signed up goalkeeper Andy Wilton, full-back Jamie Speller and midfielder Ben Jones for next season.
'We'll be seen as the underdogs and rightly so, but I'm confident we can give them a game and cause them problems. I've played against them loads of times throughout my playing career, and a few times in management. I know that they play the game in the right way and can cause any team problems.'
Tonight's match kicks off at 7.30pm, with admission costing £7 for adults, £4 for concessions and £2 for under-16s.