Norfolk Senior Cup final: Dereham Town 2 Norwich United 0
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
Dereham Town have lifted the Norfolk Senior Cup trophy for the fourth time in their history following a 2-0 win over Norwich United in the final at Carrow Road.
The Magpies successfully bounced back from last year's final defeat to Wroxham and made it four Senior Cup triumphs in 11 seasons with a controlled performance against the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division champions.
Norwich were given a taste of what to expect when they join Dereham and Wroxham in Ryman League Division One North and the Blofield-based side largely held their own but couldn't resist some clinical attacking play.
Rhys Logan sent the Magpies into half-time with a 1-0 lead and top scorer Luke Tuttle doubled that lead early in the second half to make sure of the victory – and earn a prestige pre-season friendly.
A large carrot was placed on the end of the proverbial stick for both sides ahead of kick-off, as Norfolk FA announced that the winners would win the right to play a friendly against a Norwich City XI in July, which the Magpies can now look forward to.
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Dereham were boosted by the news of Tuttle passing a fitness test on his hamstring ahead of kick-off, with the 26-goal striker then in the thick of the action.
Tuttle had blasted over from a Logan cross in just the second minute of a hard-fought opening period of few chances and that combination nearly broke the deadlock in the 17th minute.
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The Magpies skipper set Logan free down the right and Norwich keeper Jake Jessup had to rush out to make the block, before kicking the loose ball clear of danger.
The Planters started to take control of proceedings though and Dion Frary had to bravely head away a cross from Adam Hipperson in the 18th minute, before Hipperson set 45-goal top scorer Matt Blake clear soon after and the striker turned the ball round an onrushing Will Viner, only for his shot to lack the necessary power.
Blake gave the Dereham keeper a real test in the 24h minute though, lashing a shot from 20 yards after being set free by Ben Jones, forcing Viner to turn the ball to safety.
Six minutes later and it was again Blake causing trouble, excellently controlling a cross from the right from Jamie Speller on his chest and forcing Viner to clear with his feet at the near post with a powerful effort.
Dereham rallied in the later stages of the half though, Logan robbing Norwich captain Andy Eastaugh but floating a chip beyond the left-hand post in the 35th minute.
The winger did find the net in the 43rd minute though, thanks to Ryan Crisp winning an aerial challenge and Tuttle playing a nicely weighted through-ball into the right channel, allowing Logan to fire low into the bottom-left corner and open the scoring.
It could have been 2-0 before the break as well but Jessup got down quickly to turn a left-footed shot from Adam Smith around his post for a corner, as the Magpies finished the half on the front foot.
Lee Mason headed an early free-kick from Hipperson wide for Norwich after the break but Tuttle could have doubled Dereham's lead soon after, blazing over after being picked out unmarked by Logan on the counter.
Tuttle made no mistake in the 55th minute though, to double the lead for Matt Henman's team. Matt Howard surged forward from defence, playing in Crisp and the striker calmly kept possession before rolling across to an unmarked Tuttle, to slot home from eight yards for 2-0.
Dereham then took complete control as they searched for a third to kill off the game – and make up for last year's extra-time defeat to Wroxham in the county final.
Crisp forced Jessup to intercept his powerful cross in the 58th minute and just two minutes later lively wing play on the left from Adam Smith saw his cross pick out Tuttle at the back post, only for the front-man's header to loop wide of the far post.
Dereham's top scorer was in the mood for goals at the home of the Canaries and soon blasted just wide of the top corner from 20 yards thanks to a tidy short-corner routine from Logan and Smith.
Tuttle had one last chance, looping a shot onto the roof of the net after being teed up by Logan, before being replaced by Craig Bussens replacing him – finishing his tally for the season on 27 goals.
Norwich went close in the 88th minute when substitute Adam Bennett blasted a shot that Viner could only parry to Blake, but the striker's reaction header went just wide from six yards, as the Planters saw their hopes come to an end.
For full reaction and photos from the match, see Saturday's Eastern Daily Press or Norwich Evening News.
Dereham: Viner; Anema, Howard, Frary, Blake-Tracey; Logan (Butcher 87), Morphew, Constandachi, Smith; Tuttle (C – Bussens 76), Crisp (Cook 87). Unused subs: Linford, Sainsbury-Logan
Norwich United: Jessup; Speller, Eastaugh (C), Shipley, Potter (Carus 46); Henery, Mason, Jones (Bennett 62), Hipperson; Daniels (Thompson 81), Blake. Unused sub: Page
Referee: Mike George