Nicky Howell keeps Dereham’s push in high gear

A second-half strike from Nicky Howell allowed Dereham to keep their noses in front in their quest for a maiden ECL top-flight title success.

After a goalless first half in which there was little between the sides, the Magpies finally made the breakthrough against mid-table Haverhill in the 63rd minute.

Luke Hannant's free kick found Luke Tuttle on the right. He delivered a deep cross that Craig Bussens did well to head into the path of Howell 12 yards from goal.

The midfielder clinically slotted the ball diagonally across keeper Anderson and into the net.

Things then got worse for the visitors when Dan Cornwell was dismissed for an off- the-ball incident.

The result leaves Matt Henman's men, who went top with a midweek win over Stanway, a point ahead of Brantham, who swept aside CRC 4-0.

Walsham-le-Willows are third after a 1-1 draw at Ely, while Mildenhall, another team with title aspirations, are fourth after being held to a 1-1 scoreline at Woodbridge.

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Stewart Larter's Gorleston remain in the hunt in 5th place after a 5-1 demolition of the Diss side bossed by his ex-Greens managerial partner Richard Daniels.

After the relegation-threatened visitors took an early lead through ex-Gorleston player Peter Lambert, the hosts took control with goals from Christy Finch, an Aaron Taylor own goal and strikes from Jack Garrod, Bradley Hough and Ally McKenna.

The Greens, who lost for the first time in 13 league matches at Wivenhoe last weekend, are seven points behind Dereham.

With their relegation rivals also suffering defeats, Diss remain fourth from bottom but only out of the bottom three on goal difference.

Kirkley and Pakefield added to lowly Thetford Town's woes with a 3-0 win courtesy of goals from Robert Horton (2) and Ross Catchpole.

Norwich United suffered their third consecutive defeat in a 3-2 reverse at Stanway Rovers.

Matthew Lunn gave sixth-placed Wisbech a hard-fought 1-0 win at Wivenhoe.

Bottom-of-the-table Clacton showed some fighting spirit in a 2-2 draw with east coast colleagues Felixstowe but will need much more of the same if they are to avoid being cut adrift completely.

Norfolk's four Division One teams all suffered away defeats.

Fakenham lost 1-0 at Braintree Res while Yarmouth Town saw an unbeaten run, which had reached seven matches, ended by a 2-0 defeat at title-chasing Cambridge University Press.

Downham were put to the sword in a 6-1 drubbing at Ipswich Wanderers.

Swaffham lost 2-1 at Team Bury after finding themselves 2-0 down in the opening half-hour.

The Brecklanders left it late to stage a rally with Rory Harper pulling one back in the 79th minute.