Dereham Town on song ahead of crucial Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division clash

Dereham Town's Matt Howard, far left, celebrates scoring his side's second goal with his team-mates.

Dereham Town's Matt Howard, far left, celebrates scoring his side's second goal with his team-mates. - Credit: Andrew Partridge

Woodbridge Tn 1, Dereham Tn 3

DEREHAM warmed up for this weekend's clash with title rivals Brantham by moving to the top of the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division last Saturday.

The Magpies climbed to the top of the table for the first time this year as they picked up a 3-1 win at Woodbridge.

Dereham set the early pace in the league this season but a combination of cup commitments and patchy results saw them slip into the chasing pack. But Saturday's success was their third consecutive win and they now stand a point clear of morning leaders Brantham, who lost 1-0 at Godmanchester ahead of their visit from Dereham this weekend.

The Magpies led inside two minutes at Woodbridge before a goal either side of half-time killed the game off, rendering Mark Roper's thunderous drive as a mere consolation.

Luke Tuttle rose to plant a downward header inside the far post from a hanging right-wing Olly Willis cross to put Dereham ahead.

The home team failed to capitalise on their chances and were punished to devastating effect either side of half-time. In the 43rd minute Tuttle delivered a corner from the left, Roper could only divert the ball back across goal and Matt Howard reacted first to hook a shot home.

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Dereham took control at the start of the second half when Tuttle's clever dummy sent Craig Bussens clear down the inside left channel and he shot past Glyn Dixon.

Woodbridge did pull one back with 14 minutes remaining. Substitute James Churchill saw his shot headed off the line by Olly Willis but the ball rebounded to Roper who sent a thumping drive into the roof of the net.

The home side had a goal ruled out in the 86th minute and Dereham deservedly returned home as the new league leaders.

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