Pelicans 1, Dereham 3
HOCKEY: Dereham maintained their lead at the top of Premier B with a victory in what used to be a tough local derby.
Pelicans are struggling at the bottom of the league, and from the first whistle it was clear that their game plan was to sit back and hold on for a draw, tactics which lead to a turgid game.
Dereham broke the deadlock following one of Pelicans' few ventures forward into the Dereham half. Man-of-the-match Andy Lawrence was quick to react to a free-hit, moved the ball swiftly to Mark Timm, who attacked down the right and drilled the ball across the D for Chris Vernon to finish at the back post.
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Dereham doubled their advantage just before half-time when Lawrence drilled home a short corner.
The game was over just after the second half started, when Lawrence doubled his tally from a further short corner.
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Pelicans' indiscipline meant that they were reduced to nine men at one stage following three yellow cards. Pelis got a goal with 10 minutes to go.
Watton 1, Dereham Ladies III 4
WITH local rivalry the two teams at the bottom of the Norfolk Premier League clash, knew the importance of a win.
Dereham scored two goals in quick succession, Hannah Dewing slotting home a rebound off the Watton goalie following a Charlotte Reeve short-corner strike. Hannah Barnard then scored from a similar position after good work on the left by Reeve and Krissy Barnard.
Dereham let their standard of general hockey drop, failing to put in their usually high work rate. Watton put the Dereham defence under consistent pressure for the rest of the first half.
A series of errors in defence saw the ball roll across the Dereham goal-line and Watton responded quickest to score.
Dereham had a stroke of luck just before half-time when a hit-and-hope clearance saw Reeve pick up the ball on the left. Reeve crossed quickly for the on-rushing Fran Grapes to finish calmly over the keeper's pads.
A strong team talk saw Dereham put in a better performance after the break
Watton upped their game too and the second half turned into an end-to-end game. Dereham had the better of the chances though and with about 10 minutes to go Jackie Taylor got her reward for another consistent centre-forward performance by deflecting home a Dewing short-corner strike which she had previously injected.
Joint players-of-the-match were: Charlotte Reeve for her good pick up and passing play on the left wing and Immi Crooks at right mid whose consistent work rate throughout the game stood out.
Dereham will have to improve their play to get points out of their next few tough games to make themselves safe.
Squad: Hannah Barnard, Krissy Barnard, Sam Coleman, Immi Crooks, Hannah Dewing, Fran Grapes, Kim Hazel, Rachel Lavers, Fran Leverett, Emma Milton, Heather Morgan (capt), Charlotte Reeve, Jackie Taylor, Zoe Taylor (GK).
EVERGREENS: Since the new year Evergreens II have put in three solid performances, gaining some well-earned points.
Their first game, away to Loddon II on January 8, resulted in a 1-0 defeat, but Evergreens did themselves proud with only 10 players and were very unlucky not to score. After a break of several weeks it was a very end-to-end game with fantastic effort from every player.
Their next match, on January 15 at home to North Walsham II, saw an impressive 1-1 draw, a fantastic result for Evergreens against a very physical a team at the top of the table.
Last weekend Evergreens II were away to Lowestoft Railway, with just 11 players. Carrying on their good form from the new year, Evergreens were strong and dominated the first half.
This resulted in an early strike by Katie Taylor which was controversially disallowed. The second half saw more end-to-end play with both teams having several short corners. Both goalkeepers played well and overall it was a good, solid performance and a much-needed point.
Next game at home on Saturday against Old Buckenham.