Magpies' play-off hopes over after consecutive defeats
- Credit: Dereham Town FC
Dereham Town's pursuit of a play-off place is over after they suffered consecutive defeats over the Easter weekend.
The Magpies went into Saturday's game at Stowmarket knowing victory was essential in their bid to make the Isthmian League North's top five.
But Adam Gusterson's side fell to a 3-1 defeat in Suffolk courtesy of two late goals from one of the league's best teams.
And there was more disappointment on Easter Monday as they lost 1-0 to Hullbridge Sports in what was their final home game of the season.
Dereham travelled to Stowmarket on Saturday knowing they would face a stern test at Greens Meadow, and so it proved.
The home side controlled play throughout the first period, with Dereham forced to sit deep in their own territory.
They defended resolutely, however, and made it to the break with the score goalless.
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It didn't take long for Stowmarket to make the second-half breakthrough, Evan Collard stooping to head in Chris Casement's cross after 48 minutes.
They continued to threaten and could have gone 2-0 up were it not for Reggie Lambe side-footing wide from point-blank range.
Dereham's play-off dream was kept alive in the 78th minute as Matt Castellan glanced home an equaliser from Adam Hipperson's inviting cross.
But as the visitors pushed for a winner, Stowmarket crushed any faint hopes by scoring late goals through Craig Parker and Luke Brown.
Handed an opportunity to bounce back in front of a home crowd on Monday, the Magpies found it difficult to get a foothold in the first half against Hullbridge.
Both sides struggled to carve out good chances, but the visitors had a half-time lead to show for their efforts as Roland Oteniya rose well to head home Kieran Bailey’s corner after 41 minutes.
The second period was a relatively dull affair, although Dereham's play became more positive after Rhys Logan entered the fray.
But neither side could add to the scoreline and Dereham ultimately came away empty-handed.
Before the match, it was announced club stalwart Adam Smith would be retiring at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, Adam Hipperson received the supporters' player of the season award.