Late goal wrecks Wroxham fightback
Wroxham's Ridgeons League Premier Division title charge suffered a knock yesterday when they began their New Year with a surprise defeat.
The Yachtsmen were beaten 3-2 at struggling Walsham-le-Willows, but will be relieved to see nearest challengers Brantham Athletic suffer a 3-0 reverse at home to Wivenhoe.
Dereham won the derby clash at home to Norwich United by a single goal to close the gap, while Wisbech Town moved up to fourth after a 4-0 thrashing of Newmarket Town.
Diss Town went down 1-0 at Woodbridge, while Great Yarmouth Town's woes continued with a 2-0 defeat at Kirkley & Pakefield.
Wroxham were behind early on at Walsham, and goalkeeper Michael Hilton was forced into a quality save before the hosts made it 2-0.
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Manager David Batch made changes, bringing on Gary Gilmore and Ben Thompson for Jordan Rocastle and David Hinton – and the effect was immediate, with Graham Challen pulling a goal back.
Damien Hilton then made it 2-2 before Charlie Robinson snatched the points for Walsham near the end.
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Wroxham still have a 10-point lead over Brantham, while there are eight clubs within seven points of each other in the chasing pack. Dereham are one of those, thanks to Gary Starling, who produced a trademark free-kick at Aldiss Park.
Starling had already served notice with a superb 30-yard free-kick that rattled Ben Nower's post, but the visitors also hit the woodwork in the 12th minute when Jon Lovelock was unlucky to see his overhead effort strike the bar following Key's corner.
The woodwork took another pounding when Luke Tuttle bent the ball in from a corner.
The deadlock was finally broken on 56 minutes when Starling, after winning a free kick just outside the area, beat Nower inside his near post.
Russell Stock gave Kirkley & Pakefield a half-time lead at home to the Bloaters, with Kyle Baker grabbing a second four minutes from time.
Wisbech's goals came from Ollie Gale, Steven Reid, a Chris Bacon penalty and a fourth from Nik Davey near the end.
Matt Dixon's first-half penalty gave Division One leaders Thetford victory over visiting Debenham LC, while it finished 2-2 in the derby clash between Downham Town and visiting Swaffham.
But surprise of the day was at Clipbush Park, where Fakenham Town beat high-flying March Town United 3-2.