King’s Lynn 3, Dereham 2
King's Lynn edged a useful friendly work out against their Norfolk non league neighbours tonight at The Walks.
Kenny Reeves put Dereham in front during a confident start from the Norfolk Senior Cup winners. Ross Watson drew Lynn level after the break before Pat Bexfield went some way to cancelling out his weekend red card with a thunderous long range strike. Reeves headed his second before Steve Spriggs slotted a winner for the UCL Premier Division promotion hopefuls.
Lynn joint boss Gary Setchell was delighted with the reaction of his senior men after critising the club's established players during the patchy midweek friendly win over Newmarket.
'Really happy with that,' he said. 'After what happened Tuesday night we spoke to the lads and although in the first half perhaps we showed Dereham too much respect, the ones we'd criticised came on and did the business.
'Pat went into midfield and did excellently. Jack and Jamie showed if they work hard they have the sort of quality that can kill teams at this level.
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'In the second half we looked really solid. We knew Dereham really keep the ball well and would make the pitch big so we needed to put the lads through the gears. We started off with easier games, now we've played two top Ridgeons sides and next week we are going levels above that with Histon and Bedford.
'The lads have to take responsibility away from the games and make sure they are working on their fitness levels. We have slaughtered them for it but I felt they responded well.'
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Magpies' counterpart Matty Henman was pleased with some of Dereham's younger talents who more than matched the Linnets.
'We probably had four or five lads who weren't involved in this game and that has been the story of our pre-season,' he said. 'But the likes of Sam Pledger, who is only 16, came in and I thought was outstanding. He is getting experience against the likes of King's Lynn and Bury the other night. Whilst we haven't had some of the senior players during pre-season, it has enabled the younger lads to come on for it.
'We didn't hurt Lynn perhaps in certain attacking areas that I would have liked and they gave our defenders a good work-out so all in all it was good exercise. We have got 90 minutes into some of our lads who have needed it. It was a good test for both clubs and you know when you come to King's Lynn there will be a competitive edge to it. Our lads have come off and know they have been in a game.'
Danny Beaumont looked sharp in the opening exchanges against his former club alongside Robbie Harris for the hosts. The duo combined well as Harris drove at the heart of the Magpies' defence before dragging at Linnets' old boy John Higgs.
Spriggs lined up Gary Starling but scuffed his right footer at Higgs following another burst from Harris. Dereham cut open the hosts down the right forcing Alex Street to parry Nicky Howell's strike 12 yards out but the Lynn keeper had little chance when Reeves calmly slotted from the next attack with the Linnets' defence flat-footed.
Danny White made a trademark late burst into the Dereham box to round Higgs but Andrew Fulcher was stationed on the Magpies' goal line to hack clear.
Spriggs harried Fulcher into an error before a precise cut back for Beaumont who slammed at Olly Willis from 12 yards.
Luke Thurlbourne smashed a long range free kick at Higgs with Lynn looking to up the pace. Harris then carved a half volley into the Hospital End with strike partner Beaumont appealing for a wall pass instead. The ex-Magpie showed plenty of appetite for the fight with some energetic retrieving almost teeing up the stretching Harris inside the six yard box.
Watson drew Lynn level on 53 minutes with a point blank header that owed everything to half-time substitute Jamie Thurlbourne's vicious set piece delivery.
Bexfield cut in on his right to lash a superb hit from fully 25 yards past the despairing dive of Higgs on the hour mark. Paul Cousins rose unchallenged to direct Jamie Thurlbourne's corner a yard wide with Lynn now looking a genuine threat.
Reeves punished Lynn from a near post corner on 67 minutes when he squeezed a header past Street. Spriggs attempted a cheeky flick over the advancing Higgs from Jack Defty's perfectly weighted throughball but he made no mistake seconds later when Jamie Thurlbourne picked out Defty who slipped a disguised pass into the wide player to fire underneath Higgs.
Defty wasted a glorious chance to add a fourth in the closing stages when Jamie Thurlbourne picked out the unmarked striker inside the Magpies' box. Higgs then conjured a superb reaction stop to claw away Beaumont's powerful header.
• King's Lynn: Street, Watson, Duarte (Yong 45), Cousins, Fryatt (Buhlemann 65), White, Spriggs (Livoti 76), L Thurlbourne, (Bexfield 45), Harris (Defty 45), Beaumont, Coe (J Thurlbourne 45). Subs all used.
• Goals: Watson (53), Bexfield (62), Spriggs (72)
• Dereham: Higgs, Willis (Moran 61), Starling, Eastoe-Smith, Fulcher, Marsden, Howell (Saunders 58), Smith, Downes, Reeves, Pledger. Subs (not used): King, Simmons, Thompson.
• Goals: Reeves (18, 67)
• Referee: M McIntyre (Norfolk FA)
• Attendance: 406