Reaching play-offs is realistic target says Dereham Town manager

Ryan Hawkins was on target for Dereham Town against Needham Market. Picture: IAN BURT

Ryan Hawkins was on target for Dereham Town against Needham Market. Picture: IAN BURT - Credit: IAN BURT

Dereham Town boss Matt Henman was left delighted on Saturday after his side beat fellow play-off contenders Thurrock at Aldiss Park.

Henman's side currently occupy sixth position in the Ryman League Division One North, one place out-side the play-offs, but they have four games in hand on fifth placed Aveley.

'It's no longer a case of the play- offs being an added bonus,' said the Magpies' manager. 'We have to say to the players now that they should be disappointed if they do not make the play-offs and I think today really backs up that opinion. We have faced a side who are very difficult to play against and the way we have played not only today but over the last few games shows just what we can do.'

Heavy rainfall in the hours leading up the kick-off had led to match referee Sean Ferrick calling a 2pm pitch inspection but after some last minute forking by chairman Simon Barnes the game was given the all-clear.

Dereham started brightly on a heavy pitch, with Sam Borrer having the first shot, which was followed by a string of chances falling to on-loan Needham Market striker Ryan Crisp who linked up well with Toby Hilliard and Ryan Hawkins to form an athletic and dangerous frontline.

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With the first half drawing to a close, it looked as if the Magpies had failed to make their pressure tell on. However with 42 minutes on the clock Harry Barker was bought down in the penalty area and Michael Clunan fired home the resulting spot-kick.

Thurrock responded well after regrouping at half-time, and when Brad Warner was allowed time and space by the Dereham defence he made no mistake with his shot and pulled his side level.

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Ryan Hawkins soon restored the Magpies' advantage after a good team move, which he finished off with a powerful close range effort.

Hawkins couldn't stay out of the action, and with the game drawing to a close he saw red for two bookable offences, the second for trying to waste time, after holding on to the ball after being bought down.

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