Injury relief for Magpies
Wivenhoe 0, Dereham Town 3
Dereham boss Matt Henman is seeing light at the end of the tunnel after an 'horrific' run of injuries.
The Magpies bounced back from a 4-1 home defeat to Kirkley & Pakefield last Wednesday to beat bottom side Wivenhoe on Saturday and return to the top of the Ridgeons League Premier Division.
Although striker Billy Smith's attempt to shrug off an ankle injury lasted just 20 minutes at Wivenhoe before he had to be substituted, Henman received some positive news with Adam Gusterson playing 90 minutes in the reserves' 2-0 defeat at Mulbarton Wanderers.
Andrew Cusack is also expected back soon, along with Lewis Butcher, while Nathan Howard was unavailable on Saturday as he was playing for Norfolk Under-18s.
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Henman said: 'We've been up and down the last few weeks which is understandable with the horrific injury list we've got. We've been changing the team from game to game and bringing young lads in, asking them to do a lot of work.
'I've worked out that I've used 30 players in the first team already this season, so for us to be anywhere near the top, let alone at the top, is an achievement. Hopefully we can hang in there for the time being and the injury situation should improve over the next couple of weeks.'
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Dereham took a 13th minute lead on Saturday courtesy of an own goal following a dangerous cross from Nicky Howell, before striker Billy Smith, who had been returning to action after an ankle problem, hobbled off when the injury flared again.
Wivenhoe took the game to Dereham, but Scott Roberts added a second on 59 minutes and Howell completed the scoring in the 82nd minute.
'It was just good to get the win,' added Henman. 'We did what we had to do – it wasn't a great playing surface and the result was more important than the performance.
'We've got some hard games coming up and it's nice to be at the top rather than at the bottom. We need to concentrate on picking up points and eradicating some of the poor performances we've had lately.'
Dereham moved back to the top after Wroxham suffered their first defeat of the season, losing 1-0 at Brantham. And the Yachtsmen missed their chance to reclaim top spot when they lost 2-1 at home to Gorleston on Tuesday.
Henman insisted, however, that he was focusing solely on his own team, saying: 'Everyone talks about us and Wroxham but I'm not too worried about their results. We've just got to carry on with what we're doing.'
n Dereham will be at home to Luton Town in the FA Youth Cup third round following last week's victory over Gorleston. The match will be at Aldiss Park on Friday, October 21, kick-off 7.45pm.