Holly grabs crucial winner

WOMEN'S EAST LEAGUE: Dereham maintained their National League promotion challenge despite a below-par performance at Chelmsford II. The visitors struggled for long periods and were twice behind on a wet surface but they eventually came through 3-2 to keep the pressure firmly on main rivals Holcombe.

Dereham maintained their National League promotion challenge despite a below-par performance at Chelmsford II.

The visitors struggled for long periods and were twice behind on a wet surface but they eventually came through 3-2 to keep the pressure firmly on main rivals Holcombe.

With Canterbury II not eligible for promotion it's a straight fight between Dereham, Holcombe and Maidstone in the East League Premier Division - and if Dereham win their final five games of the season they will go up, no matter what happens elsewhere.

On Saturday Sam Skelton and Holly Allen hit the target to cancel out earlier efforts from Chelmsford before, with just three minutes remaining, Allen fired home a crucial third for the visitors.


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The only downside of the weekend for Dereham was the decision to forfeit their National Cup quarter-final at Trojans. The club opted not to make the long journey down to Southampton on Sunday as a variety of issues had left them with a depleted squad that would have had little chance against a National League outfit.

Norwich City dominated long periods of their game against Cambridge City II in Division 1N, only to lose 1-0.

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City started brightly, forcing a series of corners and coming close on several occasions. When Cambridge scored against the run of play, it seemed it would be only a matter of time before Norwich equalised.

But a goal failed to come. Polly Quick, in midfield, caused problems for Cambridge while Alex Rogers battled fiercely and Debbie Painter and Esme Barber had chances. Short corners looked threatening, and there was no shortage of effort, but City will have to wait just a bit longer for that elusive win.

In Division 2NE, Norwich Dragons kept the pressure on leaders Watton when they won 6-1 at Dereham II.

Natalie Beal opened the scoring with a strike from just inside the D. Dereham equalised with a freak goal before some good work by Sally Small led to Beal scoring her second.

The second half was a totally different game, with Dragons dominating and scoring four goals through Hannah Hardy, Marie James, Gail Thomas and Beal. Watton beat Ipswich III 4-2 to stay a point clear at the top while third placed Yarmouth were given a tough game by Sprowston before edging home 3-2.

Sprowston took the lead against the run of play when a hopeful through ball was picked up by Becky Cox who dribbled through to score.

A string of fine saves from Sharon Weeks kept Sprowston ahead until Yarmouth equalised from a disputed short corner and they extended their lead before the break. Yarmouth went 3-1 up but Sprowston didn't give up and towards the end Sarah Miller slid the ball into the far corner to reduce the arrears.

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