Blow for Dereham Town’s Ryman North play-off hopes

Sam Borrer challenges for a high ball in the black and white colours of Dereham Town. Picture: NEIL

Sam Borrer challenges for a high ball in the black and white colours of Dereham Town. Picture: NEIL SMITH - Credit: Archant

Dereham Town's hopes of finishing inside the Ryman League Division One North play-off places are hanging in the balance after a disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to relegation-threatened Barkingside on Tuesday night, writes Ed Colman.

The Magpies currently occupy the league's final play-off spot, but sixth-placed Brentwood are now just a point behind the Aldiss Park side with three games in hand.

The Magpies have taken just one point from their last two matches and speaking after assistant manager Neil Simmons offered no excuses for his side – but expects them to bounce back when Thamesmead visit Aldiss Park this weekend.

He said: 'Mental tiredness may be affecting us, as we have done a lot of travelling recently, but physical tiredness shouldn't affect us at all. We are young enough and we are fit enough and we are not looking for any excuses, not by any stretch of the imagination.

'The message that we are trying to get across before the Thamesmead game is that you can't feel for sorry yourself, you haven't got time to feel sorry for yourself.

'We are going to play the best part of 60 games this year and we need to make sure we prepare the right way for Saturday and remember that things can change very quickly in this division.'

Barkingside took the lead when Gregg Alpele despatched Aaron Fontaine's ball from the left byline from close range.

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Dereham were passing neatly with no cutting edge and Michael Clunan fired high and wide from outside the box. He then curled a free-kick over the top after Ryan Hawkins had been upended in a frustrating half for the Magpies.

Dereham missed a good chance to equalise in the 57th minute as Craig Bussens blazed over the top from 15 yards following Harry Barker's cross. However, they got back on level terms in the 60th minute when Jay Eastoe-Smith rose well to head home Aaron Kay's corner.

The goal added spark to the home side's play, Sam Borrer volleying a Hawkins centre wide before Hawkins fired narrowly wide minutes later. But the visitors took the points when Calvin Poku netted with a deflected effort from 20 yards in the 80th minute.

A minute from time Dereham were reduced to 10 men when Liam Wales received his second card within a matter of minutes.