Magpies’ title to lose says rival boss

The manager of Dereham Town's closest Ridgeons League championship rivals, David Batch of Wroxham, said after both teams won at the weekend: 'I still feel it's Dereham's league to lose.'

He predicted a make-or-break December could decide the title. 'Matty (Magpies boss Matt Henman) will know how big a month they have in December, and that could decide if they win it or not.

'We play them along with Leiston, CRC, Stanway and also Kirkley over New Year, so he'll know that is when they can win or lose the league.'

Tuesday night's 2-1 home win over Norwich United saw the Magpies stretch their lead over the Yachtsmen to five points with 48 points from 19 games. Wroxham have played a game more.

Leiston face a massive fixture backlog but could pose a big threat, having 29 points from just 12 games played.

Of Saturday's win at Brantham, Henman said: 'Good sides develop the habit of finding ways to win, and that's exactly what we had to do on Saturday.

'Unfortunately we started the game a little sloppily and were not prepared for Brantham's direct style if play.

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'They definitely out-worked us in the first 15 minutes and we had to regroup when Gary Starling was sent off. We moved young Sam Borrer from right wing to left-back and he had an outstanding game.

'After losing the first goal of the game we started to get a grip on possession and our equaliser came from a pretty unlikely source.

'A Beaumont long throw and a Foster header/shoulder was nevertheless massively important to put us level going in to half-time,' said Henman

'We'd given a start to Steve Harley and he applied his skills in the right direction on Saturday. He scored a well-deserved goal which ended up being the winner and showed what an asset he can be.

'For the last 25 minutes we looked to preserve our lead and defended very well with the introduction of Sam Willis, Kyle Downes and even a 10-minute cameo from Nicky Howell returning from injury.'

Brantham Athletic 1, Dereham Town 2

Dereham maintained their two-point lead at the top of the Premier Division with a 2-1 win at Brantham despite losing Gary Starling to a ninth-minute red card and conceding the first goal, writes Rene Kendal.

Starling was sent off after the referee adjudged him to have been the last defender as he fouled a forward who was trying to break through.

From the resuting free-kick, Dereham keeper Shaun Marshall made a fine save to deny David Grimwood.

The sending-off clearly unsettled Dereham, who had trouble keeping possession.

Brantham's Ollie Mann struck a post from close range in the 23rd minute before he put his side ahead after 34 minutes when he tapped home Grimwood's low cross.

The Magpies equalised in the 42nd minute when Ryan Foster nodded home Danny Beaumont's long throw into the box.

After a tame start to the second half, Dereham scored what turned out to be the winner in the 71st minute.

Man of the match Steve Harley slid the ball home following Adam Smith's through-ball.

Dereham Town 2, Norwich United 1

TOWN had to work hard after trailing to a 14th-minute goal from Darren Coe, who headed home Lee Hunter's free-kick.

Dereham were level nine minutes later when Ryan Foster found the target after good work by Steve Harley.

Dereham were denied by two goal-line clearances before the break.

Gary Starling rattled a United post with a 35-yard free-kick before the Magpies found the winner in the 72nd minute.

Ben Nower punched Starling's free-kick clear, but it fell kindly for Danny Beaumont to blaze home.