Dereham Town book place in Carrow Road showpiece with victory over Diss Town
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Dereham safely progressed to the Norfolk Senior Cup final despite a plucky display from Thurlow Nunn Premier League opponents Diss.
They took an early lead with Craig Bussens slipping the ball to Liam Wales who beat visiting keeper Matthew Powley with an accurate diagonal drive in the fourth minute.
However, Diss soon hit back in the 10th minute when striker Matthew Dixon headed home Colin Wine's corner from the right.
The visitors continued to be prominent, confidently pushing forward, but play was switching from end to end without any clear chances.
In the 25th minute Dereham were dealt a blow as Jay Eastoe-Smith had to be stretchered off with a knee injury, Matt Hockley replacing him at the back.
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After keeper Powley claimed a Dereham corner, Chris Holmes scuffed a shot wide for the visitors following Sam Newton's ball from the left.
The Magpies seized the initiative again in the 32nd minute, Aaron Kay slipped a neat ball through to Liam Wales in the box, enabling him to beat Powley with a skilful finish from close range for his second goal of the night.
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The home side came close again in the 43rd minute, Powley making a superb reflex save to keep out Ryan Hawkins' near post header from Kay's corner.
Dereham won two corners after the break before Diss's Jordan Rowe blazed wide from 20 yards. In the 51st minute Powley leapt to his left to claim a Kay free-kick following a foul on Hawkins.
After Diss had wasted a corner, Hawkins miscued for the hosts when well placed to end a flowing passing move.
In the 66th minute Dereham substitute Luke Tuttle was fouled on the left-hand side 25 yards out, Kay delivered a pacey ball towards the near post inviting Craig Bussens to head home and give Dereham a two-goal cushion.
Diss nearly reduced the deficit forcing home keeper Andy Wilton to make a fine save to push Danny Self's header behind for a corner.
With 20 minutes remaining home boss Matt Henman introduced influential midfielder Adam Smith for his return following a lengthy injury absence, to applause from the crowd of 161.
Diss remained a threat and Ben Lewis fired over Wilton's bar from 18 yards, while Powley did well again to save Tuttle's powerful late drive.
Dereham will face Ryman North rivals Wroxham in the Senior Cup final, who won 3-0 at home against Norwich United in their semi-final.