Dereham Town’s tough test in Ryman North just keep on coming

Toby Hilliard finding the net for Dereham earlier this term. Picture: STEVE ADAMS

Toby Hilliard finding the net for Dereham earlier this term. Picture: STEVE ADAMS

Dereham Town's hopes of cementing a serious play-off challenge will be given another thorough examination in the coming days.

On Saturday the Magpies – sixth and just one point outside of the top five – visit a Brightlingsea Regent outfit that are just three places and five points behind them. And if that tough test is not enough, Matt Henman's men then welcome championship challengers Needham Market who will go back to the top of Ryman North if they win all of their games in hand.

Town warmed up for their latest fixtures by winning 2-0 at Burnham Ramblers on Saturday.

The Magpies were rewarded for a positive start when Frazer Blake-Tracy got in a fine cross on the left byline which home keeper Matt Belcher could only fumble into the path of Olly Willis who opened Dereham's account in the seventh minute from close range.

Dereham soon increased their lead in the 11th minute with striker Toby Hilliard finishing a well worked passing move from just inside the box after receiving Michael Clunan's short pass.

On half-time Hilliard had an 18-yard effort blocked from a central position as Dereham went in 2-0 up.

Shortly after the restart home keeper Belcher had to be replaced with Junior Lawrence taking over in goal. He was soon a bystander as Clunan thundered a 25-yard volley onto the underside of his crossbar with the ball dropping to safety.

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Dereham then failed to create any chances to test the stand-in keeper with Burnham enjoying a fruitless spell of pressure.

In the 89th minute a Clunan corner flew straight across the home goalmouth before Clunan and Louis Mason both had shots saved.

On Tuesday night, for the second midweek running, there was more postponement frustration for the Aldiss Park outfit.

The Norfolk club's trip to fellow top-five hopefuls Brentwood Town fell foul of the current cold snap sweeping the country.