Race for second spot nip and tuck

As Leiston clinched the league championship, Wroxham went a point clear of Dereham in the Norfolk race for second spot.

The Yachtsmen won 2-1 at home to Hadleigh while a Magpies squad looking heavily towards youth lost 3-2 at home to Woodbridge.

Hadleigh after eight minutes cut the home defence to shreds with a long ball upfield. Duane Wright appeared to have over-run the ball as Scott Howie came, but he spilled it, allowing Wright to slot home.

Wroxham forced a couple of quick chances, the best falling to Ben Thompson whose shot was well saved. Paul Cook shot wide. Casual Wroxham defensive play ended with Wright hitting the bar.

Wroxham came out all guns blazing second half and equalised straight away with a stroke of good fortune. Shaun Howes' cross found Cook, who bundled forward, and the ball fell kindly for an unmarked Ross Durrant to equalise.


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It was difficult to see where another goal would come from. But Wroxham won a free-kick when the lively Danny Bloomfield was fouled on the edge of area on 65 minutes. Gavin Lemmon and Danny Self both stood together to take the kick, with the full-back hitting a cracking shot over the wall to put the Yachtsmen 2-1 up.

A Ross Durant half-volley was brilliantly saved.

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Dereham ended their home match with Woodbridge with six under-18 players on the pitch, and they gave manager Mat Henman consolation in their 3-2 defeat.

'It was a disappointing result but there were lots of positives which came out of the game,' he said.

With key senior players not available, the match gave a chance for the club's crop of young players to impress. 'There were some very good individual performances,' said Henman, pointing out that both the Magpies' goals came from under-17 player Lewis Butcher.

Despite an encouraging debut from keeper Matt Powley, who made some good saves, Dereham showed their inexperience by conceding two soft goals from set pieces in the first half, Butcher pulling it back to 2-1 before Woodbridge made it 3-1 just after the break thanks to another soft goal.

Then came a 20-yard strike from Butcher. 'We pushed and deserved an equaliser,' said Henman, impressed by what he described as 'some fantastic individual performances'.

A Simon Franz strike from 20 yards earned Wisbech a home point in a 1-1 draw with Felixstowe & Walton, a repeat of the away game result.

A reviving Felixstowe outfit gave the Fenmen a tough fight in front of 250 spectators who had seen the Fenmen go in at half-time a goal down. Franz equalised on the hour mark.

A 42nd minute header from John Sands gave Mildenhall the points in a 1-0 home win over Norwich United in a close contest between two evenly-matched sides.

The Planters had the first chances through Tom Jeal and Ryan Foster. A lovely team move starting in their own half ended with Foster's sweeping shot inches wide.

Midway through the first half the Planters saw appeals for a penalty turned down when Foster appeared to be fouled. They went close when Liam Harvey-Cooper's corner was hit goalward by Joe Jefford, but the ball was cleared off the far post.

Hall took the lead in the 42nd minute. Keeper Nower initially pushed Sand's header onto the bar, Tom Young's follow-up shot hit a post, the ball rebounded wide. Then as the cross came back, Sands hit a firm header into the top corner.

After the break Hall started strongly and David Cooper's cross was touched wide of the far post. The Planters were having lots of possession but finding it hard to break down a resolute Hall defence. The closest they came to getting level was midway through the half when Nathan Clarke's header from a right wing corner was pushed away by Pope.

Great Yarmouth Town drew 2-2 at Stanway. There were no goals in the first half, Stanway having the better chances, but the Bloaters' emergency keeper Matthew Hails producing some fine saves alongside some goal-line clearances from Craig Roberts.

Yarmouth's luck ran out before the hour mark, a corner setting up a free header which went in off the underside of the bar.

Yarmouth's top scorer Jake Reed equalised with 20 minutes to go from Luke Fell's pass.

Poor marking led to a Stanway shot which Hails saved well only to be left stranded as the rebound fell for Stanway to go ahead.

But within ten minutes plucky Yarmouth were level again. A Reed shot was deflected for a corner, from which Jo Bell scored directly.

Kyle Baker's strike was not enough for Kirkley & Pakefield to bring anything home from Walsham-le-Willows as they were beaten 3-1.

The Royals went in at half-time a goal behind, and it got worse after the restart as they lost their fourth consecutive league match.

In the First Division, after six successive wins without conceeding a goal Diss were beaten by a late penalty at fellow promotion chasers Cambridge University Press.

However, three wins from their final four games will still guarantee promotion for the Tangerines.

The top four are Gorleston 62 points from 27 games, CUP 59 from 30, Diss 57 from 28 and Whitton 52 from 25 in a 32-match campaign.

There were few clear-cut chances created in the Diss game.

With ten minutes to play Luke Catchpole had a great chance to put Diss ahead but his shot went off target.

Three minutes later a shot struck the arm of Stefan Gilding. An assistant referee signalled for a penalty and Alfie Dixon beat Matty Webster with the spot-kick for the only goal of the afternoon.

Swaffham Town went down 3-1 at Ipswich Wanderers.

The Pedlars played the better opening football on their visit to Humber Doucy Lane and took the lead in the third minute.

A Jack Redhead free-kick was attacked by Jake Platten and the rebound knocked in by Richard Cornwall.

Wanderers hit back to trouble Dean Mayes at the other end, the keeper having to push a shot over the bar with Dwayne Hockton clearing the resulting corner.

Good play between Craig Burton and Platten in the middle of the park provided Joe Jackson with a chance, but his shot went narrowly wide.

Ipswich levelled the score in the 22nd minute.

A free-kick was floated to the far post, met by a header from the No 9 which left no chance for Mayes.

Will O'Brien replaced Platten in the 24th minute after he suffered an ankle injury.

Wanderers' second came in the 33rd minute, a lob clipping the inside of a post.

The opening ten minutes of the second half saw the Pedlars putting pressure on the Ipswich penalty area. They had almost all of the possession but were unable to convert it into a goal.

As time ran out the goal drought continued, Swaffham efforts either missing the mark or falling kindly for the Ipswich defence and keeper.

The final blow came in the last minute when a well-placed free-kick flew into the top corner, leaving keeper Mayes with no chance.

Fakenham Town lost the momentum of their stirring draw with Gorleston during a two-week lay-off and went down 3-0 at Godmanchester.

Wayne Anderson's Ghosts, who early season led the division after two campaigns of struggling at the foot of the table, now look set to finish third bottom.

They are 11 points better off than Downham, and have 21 more points than Cornard, who have both played a game more.

Fakenham are within striking distance of four teams ahead of them, but face a tough run-in to the end of the season with three away games out of their four remaining fixtures.

Downham earned a home point from their home game with fifth-placed Stowmarket, the match ending 1-1.

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