Thurrock 1 Dereham Town 2 – Howard shines in Magpies’ fine Ryman League Division One North victory

Matt Howard, right, was a rock at the heart of the Dereham defence on Saturday. Picture: IAN BURT

Matt Howard, right, was a rock at the heart of the Dereham defence on Saturday. Picture: IAN BURT - Credit: IAN BURT

Dereham Town continued their excellent season with a fine win against promotion-chasing Thurrock, writes Rene Kendal.

They produced a fluid passing move early on which culminated with Luke Tuttle firing wide after home keeper Rhys Madden had saved Ryan Crisp's close-range effort. The Magpies maintained their pressure before Thurrock's Ross Gleed and Ross Wall both failed to covert Harry Agombar's square pass when well placed.

After visiting skipper Sam Borrer had been replaced by Tom Walters, Crisp had a 30-yard volley blocked. The home side then also had a chance from a corner with Charlie Cole glancing Gleed's inswinger wide. The game continued to ebb and flow and Crisp had two more efforts blocked before the visitors made the breakthrough in the 40th minute. After Tuttle had a shot blocked, Crisp found Frazer Blake-Tracy who lobbed keeper Madden from 12 yards.

Cole fired off target for the home side after the break as they looked for a quick response, but the Magpies soon increased their lead. Walters and Crisp were involved in the build-up before Tuttle released Rhys Logan on the right hand side of the box. He was upended and Tuttle made no mistake from the spot to double his side's advantage.

Thurrock's Lewis Spence was denied by visiting keeper Will Viner who leapt to his left to superbly palm away his powerful header. The home side were now pressing hard and reduced the deficit in the 86th minute when Wall headed home Reece Morgan's cross to set up a tense finish.

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Fleet threw everything forward but Dereham remained resilient, with Matt Howard once again outstanding at the heart of their defence, to claim the Ryman League Division One North points and stretch their unbeaten run to seven matches.

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