Magpies boosted by double signing

Dereham Town have bolstered their squad for the new season with a double signing.

Midfielder Joe Marsden, who played for Acle last season, has joined the Magpies along with Andrew Cusack, who can play at left back or in midfield.

Marsden was a member of the successful Norfolk Under-18s team last term and has also played at youth level with Lowestoft, while Cusack has already established himself at Ridgeons League level with Walsham le Willows.

Dereham boss Matty Henman said: 'These two signings provide further competition for places with the talented squad we carried over from last season, which gives us a great chance to push on.

'That will probably be it in terms of new faces at the moment, although there is one more we are looking at as a possibility. We're happy with what we've got, although obviously if someone we're interested in becomes available we'll have a look at it.'

The Magpies continued their pre-season campaign last week with fixtures against Reepham, Mattishall and North Walsham.

A young side made up mainly of players in the U17 to U19 age bracket won 4-2 at Reepham and Henman said: 'We won the match but more importantly there were some really good performances from the younger lads. They performed well against an Anglian Combination side and these games are a good introduction to men's football for them.'

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On Friday night, Dereham were beaten 2-1 at Aldiss Park by local rivals Mattishall, with Kenny Reeves netting for the hosts after they had fallen behind 2-0 to the Anglian Combination Premier Division side.

Mattishall went 1-0 up on 30 minutes with a goal from Joe Edwards and held on to the lead until half time despite pressure from Dereham. It was 2-0 midway through the second half with a fine goal from Luke Catchpole and Mattishall held on after Reeves had reduced the deficit.

Henman said: 'It was decent workout for us, a very competitive match. I felt we had the majority of the possession but we weren't as sharp as we would have liked at both ends of the pitch. We defended a bit sloppily for the goals and we missed a few chances, but in open play we were pretty good in possession.

'I was impressed with how hard Mattishall worked and with their fitness levels, so it was a good test for us.'

Saturday's game at North Walsham was abandoned after an hour with the Magpies trailing 1-0 after a home player suffered a serious leg injury.

Dereham were due to face Bury Town at Aldiss Park last night, while the A team are at home to RAF Marham tonight. Henman is expected to field a strong team for the visit of King's Lynn Town tomorrow night (7.30pm) and a mixture of first teamers and reserve players will travel to Fakenham on Saturday (3pm).

Henman added: 'After this week we've only got one more first team friendly before the league starts, so we're just trying to make sure players get enough minutes on the pitch. Then we can start looking at who is going to be in our starting XI for the first match.'