Ware 2 Dereham 1: Magpies facing a battle to make play-offs after third loss in a row
- Credit: Archant
Dereham's play-off hopes took a hit as they conceded two poor goals to slump to their third consecutive defeat.
The Magpies have slipped to eighth in the table, four points behind Heybridge Swifts, who are in the final play-off spot but have played two games fewer and are level on points with seventh-placed Maldon & Tiptree.
Dereham can close the gap on Easter Monday when they entertain Soham Town Rangers (3pm) – a match that is subject to a 10.30am pitch inspection at Aldiss Park.
The Magpies, boosted by the return of striker Joe Gatting, were behind after just four minutes on Saturday when the unmarked Bradley Frasier headed home Dave Cowley's free-kick from the right.
Jordon Watson then delivered a dangerous ball across the face of the Dereham goal as the hosts continued to press.
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The Magpies won two corners as they started to settle and in the 22nd minute Ryan Crisp's cross from the left just evaded Gatting's leap. Dereham keeper Elliot Pride made a great save from Watson after he was through before Crisp's low drive was deflected for a corner at the other end.
It was all square four minutes before half-time when Dereham came up with a tremendous equaliser. Seamus Kelleher sent the ball towards Gatting who headed down to Crisp on the left and the striker hit a fierce half volley from 30 yards that beat home keeper Harry Voss by his near post.
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After the break Watson lifted a 25-yard drive over Pride's bar, but Dereham came close when Sam Borrer's cracking drive forced Voss into a fine full-length save.
But Ware regained the lead in the 74th minute when a poor attempted clearance gifted a goal to Watson from close range.
Home keeper Voss produced another great save to turn Rhys Logan's superb 25-yard volley over the top in the 85th minute and in added time Gatting's volley was clearly handled as it looked to be heading for the net.
Ware: Voss, Oujdi, Njoya, Madden, Green, Fraiser, Milner, Oyibo, Watson, Cowley, Laurent (Elsom 66). Subs not used: Haag, Machado, Long, Furlonge.
Dereham: Pride, Anema, Kelleher (Jarvis 76), Hinton, Howell (Ebbage 25), Castellan, Logan, Borrer, Gatting, Crisp, Beaumont. Subs not used: Linford, Murphy.
Ref: A James. Att: 77