Dereham Town pay the penalty for referee’s poor showing

Ryan Hawkins saw red for Dereham Town on Saturday. Picture: IAN BURT

Ryan Hawkins saw red for Dereham Town on Saturday. Picture: IAN BURT - Credit: IAN BURT

Dereham's play-off hopes were dented as a solitary first-half goal earned Thamesmead the points at Aldiss Park, writes Rene Kendal.

However the Magpies could feel aggrieved as the referee dismissed no fewer than three clear penalty appeals.

After a competitive start a long ball from Ross Bailey reached Craig Bussens. His low drive forced keeper Rob Budd to make a decent save. The visitors were using the direct route and trying to utilise striker Tyrus Gordon-Young's pace but Matt Howard remained solid. Play continued to be tight with no clear chances being created until Dereham looked to have a good penalty shout for handball turned down in the 26th minute.

As the home side began to dominate Fraser Blake-Tracey's ball from the left clipped the crossbar. Minutes later Ryan Hawkins' powerful 30-yard free-kick was blocked by defender Jack Hopkins.

The Magpies threatened again with Bussens firing over the top. As play switched ends Bailey blocked Michael Spencer's close-range effort for a corner. From Ashley Propet's in-swinging centre Michael Uwezo stooped at the far post to head home and put Thamesmead in front against the run of play in the 43rd minute.

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Dereham upped the tempo after the break with keeper Budd saving well from Bailey's 18-yard drive following an extended spell of pressure. The visiting keeper had to be alert again to save Hawkins' downward header from Bussens' cross. In the 60th minute Hawkins was clearly upended in the box by George Benner. However, to the amazement of the home crowd the referee booked Hawkins for diving.

Dereham were frustrated again as keeper Budd produced a fine save to deny Hawkins – sent off in the 86th minute for a second yellow card – from close range. In added time Matt Hockley was bundled over in the box but yet again the referee waved away the hosts' penalty appeals.

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