Dereham Town make a winning start

Dereham Tn 2, Walsham-le-Willows 1

Dereham started their Ridgeons League campaign at Aldiss Park with high hopes of emulating last season's best ever finish, writes Rene Kendal.

Skipper Ollie Willis was missing but Matty Henman was able to field a strong looking side. The Magpies pinned the visitors in their own half in the opening 10 minutes before new signing Billy Smith fired across goal and wide after receiving keeper Marshall's clearance. In the 19th minute Walsham keeper McAnally had to be alert to prevent a deflection from defender Newman entering the net before Cusack steered Borrer's deep cross just off target.

Dereham had looked the more likely and were rewarded in the 28th minute when Billy Smith found space well on the right and passed inside to Scott Roberts who skillfully rounded his man before beating McAnally with a low left foot drive.

The impressive Billy Smith then had a close range effort blocked and minutes later McAnally made a superb reaction save to deny Fulcher a second for Dereham.

As the half ended Adam Smith blasted a 30-yarder inches over.

Dereham played with less verve at the start of the second period and were nearly punished as James Tatam worked his way to an advanced position before being thwarted. Walsham then won two fruitless corners as they started to put pressure on Shaun Marshall's goal for the first time.

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Dereham had lost their edge and Walsham equalised in the 65th minute when Jack Brame headed home a long cross from Paul Musgrove that the home defence had plenty of time to deal with.

The Magpies nearly regained their lead but Billy Smith headed over from close range. Adam Smith was cautioned for retaliation after being fouled.

In the 75th minute the lunging Adam Gusterson failed to convert an excellent free-kick from Gary Starling. Billy Smith then could not pick out a team-mate from the byline as Dereham pressed for the winner.

This came in the 90th minute when Roberts produced a superb run deep in the Walsham box and then squared for substitute Sam Pledger, who had just come on, to net from close range.