Magpies fall to narrow defeat in Essex

Dereham Town were defeated 2-1 by high-flying Aveley

Dereham Town were defeated 2-1 by high-flying Aveley - Credit: Dereham Town FC

Dereham Town battled hard but narrowly lost a tight game at high-flying Aveley. 

After their game at home to Barking was postponed due to adverse weather conditions, the Magpies travelled to Essex following a two-week break from league action. 

Dereham Town fell to a 2-1 defeat at Aveley

Dereham Town fell to a 2-1 defeat at Aveley - Credit: Dereham Town FC

Adam Gusterson's men started well, with Joe Tarpey releasing David Hinton down the right flank after four minutes, before the latter's cross was cleared. 

Dereham then forced a corner which was cleared away at the far post. 

But the hosts, who are gunning for automatic promotion, soon began to take control as Alex Akrofi fired over when well placed.

Aided by a strong breeze, the pressure kept on coming from Aveley and good defending was needed from Dereham's Matthew Castellan to concede one of many corners. 

The home side made their breakthrough after 34 minutes, however, when the unmarked George Sykes rifled home from 12 yards out. 

Dereham Town in action at Aveley in the Isthmian League North

Dereham Town in action at Aveley in the Isthmian League North - Credit: Dereham Town FC

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Sykes, who posed a danger throughout the game, had another fierce drive charged down by Rossi Jarvis minutes later. 

Soon after the break, Aveley keeper David Hughes was forced off his line to head clear as Toby Hilliard chased Dion Frary's through ball. 

Magpies stopper Antoni Bort was then called into action to make a tremendous save at full stretch from Joe Benton's effort. 

Dereham grew into the game as the second period progressed and got their reward in the 70th minute, as Hilliard hooked Rhys Logan's corner back into the danger area for Frary to head in at the back post. 

But almost immediately, goalscorer Frary misjudged a defensive header which allowed Sykes a free run at goal and he confidently restored Aveley’s lead.

Fans watch Dereham Town playing at Aveley in Essex

Fans watch Dereham Town playing at Aveley in Essex - Credit: Dereham Town FC

The Magpies continued to press, but could not find another leveller and left Parkside empty-handed. 

While disappointed, Gusterson said he could not argue with the result. 

“The better team won on the day and we could have no complaints about the final result," he added.

"However, we certainly played our part and, but for a bit of naivety at key times, we could have easily left one of the best sides in the division with a share of the spoils, which shows our performance in the main was good.”

Dereham remain in sixth, hovering just outside the play-off places on goal difference.