Dereham Town’s outside hopes of a Ryman North play-off place ended early
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Dereham's play-off hopes ended when they could only gain a draw against relegation-threatened Maldon & Tiptree, writes Rene Kendal.
The Magpies made a positive start, winning two corners before Olly Willis was thwarted just outside the box after bursting forward from a central position.
In the eighth minute Ryan Hawkins forced home keeper Darren Behcet into a full length save from his low drive before Maldon managed to break with clinic effect. Dereham never cleared their lines, allowing Alex Andrews to turn inside the box and beat keeper Andy Wilton with a low diagonal drive in the 10th minute.
The goal lifted the Essex side and they soon launched another quick attack, with Wilton racing from his line to prevent Mason Bloomfield from increasing their lead.
They continued to cause problems for the Magpies until Willis, Luke Tuttle and Hawkins combined well down the right with the later whipping in a dangerous low cross.
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They came close again minutes later with keeper Behcet palming away Hawkins' close-range effort.
In the 39th minute Wilton saved defender Matt Howard by racing from his line to clear his under-hit back pass with striker Mason Bloomfield in pursuit.
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Shortly after the break Sos Yao sprinted clear of Howard into the box but lifted the ball over Wilton's bar from close range. Dereham then won a free-kick 35 yards out. Tuttle's ball from the left beat everyone, including Behcet, to level matters.
The Magpies continued to have more of the possession with Behcet having to save an Adam Smith free kick before tipping Sam Borrer's attempted chip over his crossbar. In the 83rd minute Kyle Downes travelled deep into the home box but was tackled as he looked to pull the trigger.
Home sub Nathan Koranteng went close before, in added time, the Magpies were denied the vital goal they were searching for to keep their faint hopes alive with one game to go when Tuttle slipped in Downes and his effort was pushed away by Behcet.