Struggling Dereham part company with manager Neal Simmons

Neal Simmons has parted company with Dereham Town Picture: Ian Burt

Neal Simmons has parted company with Dereham Town Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

Dereham have parted company with manager Neal Simmons.

Simmons' departure was announced on Sunday on the club's official website, the day after the Magpies were beaten at Tilbury.

'Dereham Town FC has taken the very difficult decision to release current management duo, Neal Simmons and Matt Parkinson, from their roles with immediate effect,' it read.

'The club wishes to thank both for their considerable efforts, both on and of the pitch, over many seasons.

'Simmo and Matt will always be welcome at Aldiss Park. Simmo in particular has been involved in all aspects of the club's functioning, far in excess of that normally required of a manager. An announcement regarding their successors will be made within the next day or two.'

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Simmons stepped up from the role of assistant manager following the departure of Matt Henman at the end of the 2016-17 season.

In his first season in charge, Dereham finished an excellent eighth in the Bostik North table, but this season has been a struggle, with the Magpies winless in the league since early November. Since then they have taken just two points from a possible 27 and were also deducted three points in November for fielding an ineligible player. Saturday's defeat at Tilbury leaves them rooted to the bottom of the table.

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The Magpies took the lead in the 23rd minute at Tilbury when Danny Beaumont's cross from the right reached Adam Hipperson who passed it back to skipper David Hinton, who took a touch before firing home a left-foot drive.

But they were unable to hang on, with the hosts drawing level four minutes later when Lewis Smith found space inside the box and turned before beating keeper Elliot Pride with a low left-foot drive.

Play remained end to end with no clear-cut chances. On the stroke of half-time Hipperson burst forward and struck an excellent 25-yarder that forced home keeper Rhys Madden into a save.

Soon after the break, Danny Beaumont tested Madden again with a fierce strike from the edge of the box.

But Tilbury took the lead on 56 minutes after a free-kick on the left: Smith's low drive was superbly saved by Pride but Abdul Salami turned the loose ball back to George Sykes who netted from close range.

It soon became 3-1, when Sykes headed home Joe Burgess's inswinging corner unchallenged from close range in the 63rd minute.

Tilbury added a fourth 10 minutes from time – Mitchell Gilbey found Sykes who progressed to the left byline and squared to Smith who netted from point blank range.

On time Joe Gatting headed home Beaumont's corner from the left but it was far too late for the Magpies.

Dereham have a tough game next Saturday when they welcome second-placed Heybridge Swifts to Aldiss Park.

Tilbury: Madden, Boswell, Burgess, Norman, Phillips (Jaggs 81), Salami, Gilbey, Barton, Sykes, Spooner (Anderson 85), Smith.

Subs not used: Paxman, Keith, Newby.

Dereham: Pride, Quantrell, McLeish, Hinton, Plumstead (Ebbage 34), Frary, Beaumont, Smith (Logan 70), Crisp (Gatting 53), Forshaw, Hipperson. Sub not used: Wengrzik.

Ref: C Bodell.

Att: 101

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