Thamesmead 1 Dereham Town 0: Frustration on road for Magpies
Dereham Town suffered a frustrating afternoon at Bayliss Avenue, writes Rene Kendal.
After falling behind to Phillips Blaetter's first-half strike, Dereham dominated the second period but could not find the net.
Thamesmead keeper Andy Walker had to be alert to keep out Rhys Logan's low drive after he had picked up Frazer Blake-Tracy's deep free kick in just the third minute. The Dereham wide man featured prominently in the early exchanges with his pace unsettling the Kent side's defence.
However, it was Thamesmead who took a 13th-minute lead with a superb strike from Blaetter. The midfielder received the ball on the right, just outside the box and turned inside before planting a sweet left-foot drive into the bottom corner of Will Viner's net.
The Magpies missed a good chance to draw level within five minutes when Ryan Crisp was put clean through, but delayed shooting and was thwarted by a last-ditch challenge from Jack Berry.
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Both keepers were soon in action again, with Walker denying Logan and Viner saving well from Fairwether-Johnson. After Crisp had another close-range effort saved, skipper Sam Borrer headed a Crisp corner off target when well placed as Dereham continued to press.
Fairwhether-Johnson looked set to increase the Mead's lead, but Viner produced a brilliant close-range reaction save.
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Dereham came out positively after the break, with the breeze now in their favour. Twice Logan got round the back of the defence, but the final ball was missing.
Play was mostly one way now and Borrer had a close-range effort blocked after Logan had headed Walters' cross into his path.
As the Magpies threatened again Blake-Tracy and Crisp combined well down the left before the former had a low drive diverted for a corner. From their next attack Logan outpaced Porter but saw his attempted lob land just the wrong side of the post in the 84th minute as Dereham's frustrating afternoon continued.