Dereham Town players ‘could not have done any more’ in FA Cup clash

Dereham Town assistant manager Neal Simmons heaped praise on the commitment of the players as they bowed out of the FA Cup and said: 'We couldn't have given any more.'

The Magpies' cup adventure was arrested by Ryman League club Met Police on Wednesday.

Dereham were two rungs lower on the footballing ladder than their Surrey opponents and after the 2-0 replay defeat 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, including a 1-1 stalemate with Met Police at Aldiss Park in the third qualifying round on Saturday.

There was obviously bitter disappointment that the FA Cup dream was at an end but also huge pride.

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.'

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He said there were many positives from the game and the cup run.

'We have bedded as a squad and are playing good football and scoring goals during the season. We have got a good squad and we can now push on.'

Nicky Howell, who was captain for Wednesday's game, said: 'They were a couple of steps above us and the boys did themselves proud.

'It was a long hard game and we worked so hard and we thought we might just nick it but it was not to be.'

Howell said they had carried on from the first game but found the well organised Met Police side hard to break down.

'We battled hard and matched them for work rate and it was our first loss of the season and the first time we had not scored and for that to be in mid October is quite an achievement.'

Howell said the players were determined to lift themselves for the FA Vase game at Aldiss Park on Saturday against Stewarts and Lloyds Corby, a team they have already beaten in the FA Cup this season.

'The Vase is something we think we can do very well in and we must pick ourselves up and be back on it.'

Met Police manager Jim Cooper believes stopping Dereham striker Shaun Bammant was one of the keys to their success.

The bustling frontman scored within two minutes of coming off the bench on Saturday and caused big problems to the Met Police defence.

He started on Wednesday and Cooper said the plan to combat him 'worked well and he did not cause any problems.'

'We controlled the game and probably had enough chances to win the cup. I'm very pleased with the result and performance. Our goal was to reach the first round proper and we're one step closer,' said Cooper, whose team will now face Combined Counties League side South Park.

Meanwhile, Cooper and Dereham boss Matt Henman have given their versions of what caused them both to be sent to the stands after a late spat on the touchline.

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.'

*See Saturday's EDP for a preview to Dereham's FA Vase tie.

*For highlights of Wednesday's game see the FA website