Thurlow Nunn League preview: Dereham Town chairman wants big crowd to roar Magpies to title

Action from Dereham Town, who can be crowned champions today, v Wisbech Town at Aldiss Park. Picture

Action from Dereham Town, who can be crowned champions today, v Wisbech Town at Aldiss Park. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Magpies chairman Mike Baldry is urging the people of Dereham to turn out in force again today to roar the champions elect to glory.

A 3-2 defeat against Wisbech put the celebrations on hold and left Dereham Town still needing one more win to secure the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division title. It will be the biggest achievement in the club's history and ensure promotion to Step Four of the non-league pyramid.

The Magpies - who had won 11 games on the trot before Tuesday night - face rock bottom FC Clacton at Aldiss Park today. A crowd of 389, a league record for the season, were at the ground in midweek and Baldry hopes for a similar figure this afternoon.

He said: 'The turnout was absolutely brilliant and we hope to have the same tomorrow and hopefully we will have big celebrations! It was so good to see a lot of local people and lots of them said they would be coming again.

'We are obviously disappointed to have lost and not won the title but we are looking forward to doing it at the weekend. The support is a boost for the players and really spurs them on.

'We are working tirelessly and it is nice to see local people supporting us. There have been lots of offers from people to come up in the close season to do jobs and we are looking forward to improving the ground.'

Dereham boss Matt Henman said the Magpies were naturally disappointed by Tuesday's defeat but remain in pole position to clinch the title.

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'We have earned the right to be in the position we are in,' said the Magpies' manager.

'It was a little bit disappointing on Tuesday because we had a few there and there were periods during the game when we didn't do ourselves justice and that is what cost us. But I said to the lads I know which changing room I would rather be in, and perhaps when the dust settles a little bit they (Wisbech) will wish they were in our position.

'We will come back tomorrow and we will have learned from this, that perhaps we got caught up in the occasion a bit too much and didn't concentrate on our jobs, and make sure that on Saturday we don't do that and make sure we finish the job off.'

Dereham have a four-point lead over Wisbech, having played a game less, and can clinch the championship with a draw should the Fenmen fail to beat Brantham Athletic at home. After this afternoon, the Magpies visit Godmanchester Rovers on Tuesday and welcome Diss Town on Friday.

The Fenmen have a three-point cushion over third-placed Gorleston, with a game in hand, and are five points ahead of Brantham, who sit fourth.

Wisbech boss Steve Appleby said: 'Tuesday was more about personal pride, we owed the fans and each other a performance after Saturday and showed great character to turn the game around. I think we know that the league is gone, it isn't mathematical yet, but Tuesday was more about not seeing the cup presented in front of us.

'For Dereham to slip up three times now is very unlikely. However, we still have our jobs to do and we still need to make sure we secure second at least. In order to put ourself in that promotion picture, then it is up to the club to make a decision.

'However, I thought that decision was made and my job was to just get the club promoted, but a few things have cropped up and we are reviewing the situation.'

Elsewhere, Diss host Hadleigh, Gorleston welcome Ely while Norwich United entertain Wivenhoe Town. Kirkley & Pakefield travel to Haverhill Rovers and Thetford visit Woodbridge.

In the First Division, Downham Town are at home to Whitton and Swaffham Town host Long Melford. Fakenham Town travel to Cambridge University Press and Great Yarmouth Town visit Ipswich Wanderers.