Late winner ends Dereham’s hopes in FA Cup

Dereham Town manager Matt Henman.

Dereham Town manager Matt Henman. - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Dereham Town 1 St Albans 2

Dereham produced their best display of the season, but were knocked out of the cup.

Defender Michael Sommerfield put them in front at Aldiss Park, but a goal five minutes from the end of normal time ended their hopes.

As the teams settled, St Albans full-back Tom Bender tried a speculative 30-yarder that drifted wide, but Dereham competed well in the early stages without penetrating their National League South opponents.

They had their first chance when Jake Anema headed Tom Walters' deep free-kick off target with 21 minutes on the clock, while the visitors came close in the 27th minute when Shaun Lucien's deflected 20-yard drive struck keeper Will Viner's post.

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St Albans kept pressing but the Magpies remained resilient – skipper Dan Morphew did well to block David Noble's close-range drive from Lee Chappell's pull-back as St Albans maintained the pressure.

Sommerfield tired his luck from distance but the ball flew wide and the Magpies looked to have a good penalty shout in the 43rd minute when keeper James Russell upended Ryan Crisp as he rounded him – but the referee carded the home striker for simulation.

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After the goalless first half St Albans striker Louie Theophanous fired over Viner's bar from a central position and the home keeper was forced to make a vital close range save from Noble as the midfielder homed in on goal.

Dereham then launched a quick counter-attack, with Adam Smith surging forward, but Darren Locke intercepted his attempted pass to Dion Frary.

The Magpies pressed and Crisp had an effort cleared off the line before Fray's thunderous 25-yarder was superbly saved by keeper Russell.

But from the following corner from Walters, Sommerfield rose well at the far post to firmly head home in the 57th minute, to the delight of the large crowd.

However, St Albans restored parity when Theophanous skilfully guided home a cross by former Norwich City Academy player Matt Ball with 67 minutes gone.

Dereham continued to battle, with Robbie Lindford looking impressive, but St Albans struck the decisive blow on 85 minutes when Morphew slipped attempting to head clear Herd's ball down the left channel, enabling Dipo Akinyemo to gain possession. The substitute cut inside before beating Viner with a neat finish to win the tie for the Hertfordshire side.

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