Dereham Town are deducted three points for fielding ineligible player against AFC Hornchurch

Sam Borrer pulling the strings in the heart of Dereham's midfield. Picture: Ian Burt

Sam Borrer pulling the strings in the heart of Dereham's midfield. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Dereham Town have been deducted three points by the Bostik League for fielding an ineligible player.

The Magpies have lost the points they won at leaders AFC Hornchurch in October last year as a result of fielding Robbie Linford when the player was suspended.

Two other Bostik teams, Metropolitan Police and Potters Bar Town, have also been sanctioned for the same offence. Met Police had an appeal against the decision rejected earlier this week and both Dereham and Potters Bar have decided they will not be contesting the matter as a result.

Dereham chairman Neil Sturman admitted the club is very disappointed by the decision and feels they have been penalised by a flaw in the disciplinary system.

'When a player is booked it gets logged down on two different systems,' he said. 'At the time we didn't know that these two systems didn't match up.

'We've since been told that it is the FA system that needs to be checked. It's very disappointing and something the FA needs to look at because there is obviously some confusion there with two other clubs being deducted points as well.'

The three-point deduction has seen Dereham fall out of the play-off places but Sturman hopes that a sense of injustice can galvanise the club to ensure they finish in the top six come April.

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'It's very frustrating - the lads have gone down to Hornchurch and got a fantastic result down there,' said Sturman ahead of their trip to Brentwood on Saturday. 'These lads and the management give up so much of their time to play and it's disappointing. But if someone had said to us that we would be in 7th place, at this stage, at the start of the season, we would have bitten their hands off.' A statement on the league website said: 'The League can confirm that three clubs have been deducted points for fielding ineligible players, following each of them being charged by the FA for a breach of rule E10 – failure to comply with an automatic suspension.

'Each club was found to also be in breach of League Rule 6.9 (playing an ineligible player) and points gained in these matches are to be deducted. The matches are not to be replayed.'

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