Magnificent Magpies beat Norwich City
Norwich City 1, Dereham Town 2
The Magpies sent Canaries' feathers flying in their Carrow Road Norfolk Senior Cup semi-final showpiece on Tuesday night.
After his side's magnificent performance, Dereham boss Matty Henman waits to see if it is King's Lynn Town or Thetford Town against whom he will pit his wits in the final, also at Carrow Road.
'Being selfish, that's probably the best feeling I have ever had in football,' he said. Magpies fans in a crowd of well over 1,000 would have felt the same.
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'I am a massive Norwich fan. This is the first time I have ever managed or played in a competitive game at Carrow Road and it just makes up for last year and all the years I have not made it here.
'It's a double whammy – beating Norwich in a competitive game at Carrow Road and making it to a final.
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'We knew looking at their side where their experience and strengths were. We said before the game we are never going to be able to stop everything that they throw at us, so what we concentrated on was to stop the things that were the biggest problems and maybe the smallest problems let them happen.'
City, with five senior players in the starting line-up, had the better of it as far as chances and possession were concerned, but were wasteful.
City had missed their opportunities, but Dereham took full advantage of the first that came their way, after 22 minutes.
Scott Roberts challenged Surman on halfway and sent the ball forward for Downes to chase. He out-muscled Sam Habergham and crashed a shot into the top of the net from the right edge of the area.
Bang on the hour mark, Starling struck with a top-drawer free-kick from all of 25 yards – an effort which would have graced any stage, let alone a Championship ground.
City launched the inevitable onslaught in the latter stages, with McNamee giving them a glimmer of hope when he fired home in the final minute. Sub Matt Ball saw a left-foot shot come off a post and then had a header cleared off the line as Dereham hung on for a famous victory.
'It's is very disappointing and we now have to brush ourselves down, stand up and be counted and learn from it,' said Academy boss Ricky Martin, who was in charge of City, who saw first-teamer Andrew Surman make his comeback after injury.
'There are lots of things to learn from tonight. Their keeper made some great saves and that keeps them in the game, but that's his job.
'We weren't ruthless or clinical enough, and at the end of the day goals wins matches.'
If there was any consolation it was Surman's appearance.
'He did very well and at times looked too comfortable for the game, I felt,' Martin said.
City: Matthews, Jones, Tierney (Gordon 69), Smith, Francomb, Habergham, Hughes, Surman (Ball 69), Werndley (Oakley 61), Dawkin, McNamee, Subs not used: Brindley, Dobbs.
Goal: McNamee 90.
Dereham: Marshall, Willis, Cross, Gusterson, Starling, Beaumont, Roberts (Borrer 63), Smith, Downes (Reeves 58), King (Foster 71), Kelleher. Subs not used: Morgan, Higgs, Howard, Thompson.
Goals: Downes 22, Starling 60.
On the Ridgeons League front, Dereham now trail leaders Leiston by five points.
Leiston have 61 points from 24 games after Tuesday night's 2-0 home win over Felixstowe compared to Dereham's 56 from 25.
On Saturday, Dereham are at Hadleigh.