Wroxham chief fires title shot

Wroxham boss David Batch insists the Ridgeons Premier Division title is 'Dereham's to lose' after the Norfolk rivals pulled further clear of the chasing pack at the weekend.

Batch's men eased to a 3-1 Trafford Park win over Wisbech to remain two points behind the Magpies who beat Brantham 2-1 on the road with third-placed Kirkley now a distant 12 points behind Wroxham. Matty Henman's side have two games in hand on the Yachtsmen but Batch is predicting a make-or-break December could decide the championship.

'I still feel it Dereham's league to lose,' he said. 'Matty will know how big a month they have in December and that could decide if they win it or not. We play them along with Leiston, CRC, Stanway and also Kirkley over New Year so he'll know that is when they can win or lose the league. Technically, they should be eight points in front with the games in hand, which is quite a big gap.'

Batch watched his side labour to a sixth consecutive league win after Damian Hilton headed Wroxham in front on 25 minutes before Gavin Lemmon slotted another well-worked free kick. Simon Flanz grabbed Wisbech a lifeline a minute later from the penalty spot but Paul Cook sealed victory with a superb volley from just inside the box.

'We didn't play very well to be honest,' he said. 'First half, we didn't have as much energy as we have shown recently. Second half, our decision-making wasn't good enough and there are two or three things that we will have to do a lot better when we play them in the FA Vase. But its three points and Dereham haven't beaten them in three attempts, Leiston lost to them, so we had to set a marker. We scored some good goals. The second was a really good finish and so was Cooky's. We won't go overboard because we can be a lot better.'

Wisbech counterpart Steve Appleby accused the Fenmen of naivety after conceding twice from set pieces in each half.

'I think we have been naive and we have under-achieved, big style,' said Appleby. 'We have let ourselves down and I think Wroxham wanted it more than us - that was the difference first half. We didn't do anything. We didn't turn Wroxham round and it was a scrappy game in my eyes. I was just pleased it was only one at half time.

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'We had a go at them and they were a lot brighter, we started to get loads more of the ball. I was confident of getting back into it, but them we went to sleep at a free kick and they go two up. I thought we would kick on after the penalty, but we never did. I've just said to the lads I think we are lacking consistency at the minute. We have turned Leiston and Dereham over twice and we are more than a match for anybody.

'I know Wroxham are a good side and coming away to the top two or three is difficult but our performance was nowhere near where it could be and we didn't give ourselves a fighting chance. I thought they were worthy winners.'

Appleby is predicting a tighter affair when the clubs meet again at Trafford Park in less than a fortnight.

'I don't think it will have too much bearing,' he said. 'We had three or four players unavailable so we know it will be difficult. They will want to get back to Wembley, they've had a taste but we'll come and give it a go. There's a couple of things I've noticed from this game, but our attitude has to change massively. If you can't get up for a game like that in the FA Vase, you shouldn't be playing football.'

Wroxham: Howie, Atkins, Marsden, Challen, Carus, Daniels (Bruel 82), Durrant, Gilmore, Hilton, Boswell (Lemmon 56), Paynter (Cook 68). Sub (not used): George.

Goals: Hilton (25), Lemmon (69), Cook (75)

Wisbech: Jordan, Flanz, Johnson, Fairweather (Cousins 45), Reeve, Turner, Jones, Thompson, Jimson (Furnell 72), Stevens, Cartwright (Gale 56). Sub (not used): Dear.

Goal: Flanz (70)

Referee: S Artis

Attendance: 118