Norwich United claim surprise win

The festive season produced its usual array of strange results yesterday as two of the pre-season favourites dropped valuable points in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division title race.

Dereham Town dropped points at Aldiss Park for the first time this season when they were beaten by struggling Norwich United, while Wisbech Town were held to a goalless draw by Godmanchester Rovers.

But Gorleston's revival under manager Stu Larter continues, with the Greens coming out on top in the big derby game of the day at Kirkley & Pakefield.

Diss Town, whose manager Richard Daniels was unavailable because of work commitments, were beaten 2-0 at Walsham-le-Willows, who take over top spot from Mildenhall, who were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Ely.

The shock of the day was undoubtedly at Dereham – although the Magpies are sitting in third spot, four points off the lead with three games in hand, it could have much a much healthier looking position.

Dereham had the first opportunity, when Gary Starling's centre was only partly cleared to Luke Hannant, who fired a left-foot drive into goalkeeper Ben Nower's arms.

But the only goal of the game came in 28 minutes after Norwich won a free-kick 30 yards. Ian Hunter curled a superb right-footer onto Andy Wilton's right-hand post and skipper Steve Shipley was first to react to knock home the loose ball from close range.

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Dereham needed to up their game after the break. Jordan Blyth headed John Lovelock's deep free-kick wide, but with his side continuing to struggle to put any worthwhile moves together, manager Matty Henman sent on Adam Smith and Scott Sutherland-Gray.

Sutherland-Gray was soon involved, hitting Bammant's cross from the left over the bar before firing over with a 20-yard volley.

As Dereham finally began to liven up, keeper Nower was forced to punch Ryan Hawkins' centre to safety, but the Planters held out for manager Damien Hilton's third win in a dozen league games since taking over from Paul Chick in early October.

Form team Gorleston made in six straight wins when they returned from Walmer Road with an impressive 3-0 victory. Christy Finch opened the scoring on 21 minutes and goals early in the second period from Chris Sandford (49) and David Hinton (56) ended any hopes of a Kirkley fightback. After taking 16 points from a possible 18 in the league Gorleston are fourth, just five points behind the joint leaders with a game in hand.

Wisbech are without a win in their last three home games after the stalemate against Godmanchester Rovers and drop to fifth, behind Gorleston on goal difference. To add to their misery, the Fenmen were reduced to 10 men on 71 minutes when striker Chris Bacon was sent off.

Brantham were the big winners, thumping Clacton 7-0

The First Division programme was hit by the weather conditions of previous days, with Fakenham's game against Swaffham and Downham's against March Town among the postponements.