It would prove to be a seven-goal thriller and a first victory of pre-season for Tom Parke’s new-look Dereham Town side against Mundford this afternoon (final score 3-4).

Marking a first return to his old stomping ground for the Dereham Head Coach, whom he managed briefly before making the switch to Dereham last summer. 

Dereham began the half in the ascendency, moving the ball around the pitch with purpose, creating a nice opening five minutes in for newly recruited full-back Harry Pitcher to cross low into a dangerous area, the Mundford defence on hand to clear comfortably. 

The first effort on goal, however, would fall to the hosts when Shomo Frances would fire low towards Magpies short stopper Tom Coombe.

Dereham would respond by creating the clearest opening of the contest on 21 minutes, Robbie Sweeney breaking away down the left-hand side, cutting back to the onrushing Bradley Spooner whose effort would’ve surely opened the scoring had it not been for an excellent block by the Mundford centre half. 

Proceedings would get underway from the resulting corner, returning striker Charlie Clarke flicking goalwards from a corner, putting Parke’s side 0-1 up on 22 minutes. However, within 10 minutes the home side were level, danger man Shomo Frances bursting past Conley Poynter at the back post to head past Tom Coombe. 

Mundford would only be level for a matter of minutes, however, with attacking midfielder Ben Lewis pouncing on a loose ball over the top of the Mundford defence to poke under the advancing keeper.

Dereham would give themselves a two-goal cushion after Robbie Sweeney once again led a breakaway down the left-hand side, having plenty of time to square for fellow winger Jordan Buttle to tap home unopposed for 1-3. 

Much like the flow of the game however, Dereham’s two-goal lead would be short-lived, as minutes later substitute Jamie North would be dispossessed on the edge of the box by former Magpie Valter Rocha who’d fire low into the bottom left-hand corner to bring the hosts back into the contest. 

Mundford would once again bring themselves level, 10 minutes into the restart Rocha flicking home a header from a corner.

However, Dereham would restore their lead for the final time 15 minutes later when a defensive mishap allowed Charlie Clarke to ghost past the ‘Stags’ keeper and roll into an empty net. 

More chances followed for both sides, Sweeney and Clarke forcing good saves and Lewis Dugdale curling a lovely effort towards the top right-hand corner, only for it to crash off the upright.

And Coombes being forced into a couple of smart stops to prevent the hosts levelling once again. 

Some lovely partnerships forming through the likes of Skipper and Poynter at the back as well as Pitcher and Sweeney down the right flank.

There are plenty of signs both in and out of possession that Dereham’s pre-season is definitely heading in the right direction. 

Report by Jack Lincoln