Dereham Town eager to take another step on road to Wembley
Dereham Town are determined to take a further step on the road to Wembley today – just three days after another possible route to the home of football was ended.
The Magpies take on Stewarts and Lloyds Corby in the FA Vase first round at Aldiss Park today (3pm) and it is the ideal opportunity to get the disappointment out of their system of the 2-0 FA Cup third qualifying round replay loss at Met Police on Wednesday.
Dereham beat their opponents in the FA Cup earlier this year.
As local teams such as Diss, Wroxham and Lowestoft have proved over the years, the Vase is a good chance of going all the way to the final.
Having tasted the scent of cup glory already this season, Dereham boss Matt Henman is eager to build on the success.
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'We maybe need to pick one or two up after Wednesday but they will be fine and positive.
'We have a dream of trying to get to Wembley and we have got a good chance. Saturday will be about getting back on the horse quickly and looking for another cup run.'
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Henman said as well as the Vase, the team had the league and league cup and Norfolk Senior Cup to compete in.
He believes he has the strength in his squad - with the prospect of new faces coming in - to cope with all the demands.
Henman said: 'There is a great buzz around the club and it is brilliant. It was a good experience against Met Police and it whets the appetite to progress the club. It was great to play a Ryman League club and there is no reason that we can't grow in to that.'
He admitted there was a need for a balance with so many games but said they could cope. 'It is important to win on Saturday and the Vase is a competition we want to do really well in. You don't wish yourself out of cups and we want to keep doing well.'
Henman said he was 'immensely proud' of the team's performance on Wednesday and added: 'We gave absolutely everything.'
He hailed midfielder Sam Borrer as 'immense' and also heaped praise on young keeper Andy Wilton, who pulled off a string of saves.
'We had young players all over the pitch and some of them were playing four steps lower than their opponents.'
His assistant Neal Simmons said: 'We gave it a go. We have lived with a Step 3 side for 179 minutes and at times they were hanging on.'
Met Police took the lead in the 16th minute but didn't get the crucial second until injury time and while they created more chances, Dereham were always in with a chance.
It was the Magpies' first defeat of the season after 11 wins and two draws in the first 13 games.
Simmons said: 'The cup run was going to come to an end at some point but it was a shame it had to be here but we did ourselves proud and did the club and town proud.'
Nicky Howell, who was captain for Wednesday's game, said: 'The Vase is something we think we can do very well in and we must pick ourselves up and be back on it.'
Defender Olly Willis is ruled out today with a groin strain.
Fellow full back Gary Starling missed last Saturday's game through injury and Wednesday night's replay as he served a one-match suspension. He will be assessed to see if he can come back in to contention for today.
Meanwhile, Henman and Met Police boss Jim Cooper have given their versions of what caused them both to be sent to the stands after a late spat on the touchline on Wednesday.
Henman said the Met Police right back went over the Dereham bench to celebrate after the second goal.
'He should be disappointed with himself for that,' said Henman. 'He should not do that and he was being a bit big time. We reacted and their manager got involved. The referee wanted to make a name for himself as he was being assessed. It was passionate and it is the FA Cup.'
Henman added: 'The reaction of the Met Police at the end shows a lot about our performance.'
Cooper said: 'I don't know why I was sent off. Elliot Taylor made a comment to their bench and they reacted. I tried to stop them charging onto the pitch to and the referee sent me off. He said he'll rescind it after talking to his linesman, who could see I was peacekeeper.'
*Tickets for today's game are �6.50 adults and �3.50 concessions.
*For highlights of Wednesday's game see the FA website www.thefa.com/TheFACup