New man in Magpies' hot seat

Dereham Town's new acting chairman David Ovenden has a hectic start to his time at the helm - and believes the club is in a strong position on and off the field.

Dereham Town's new acting chairman David Ovenden has a hectic start to his time at the helm - and believes the club is in a strong position on and off the field.

Ovenden, who has been on the committee for about four years, was unanimously backed to take up the role by fellow members on Monday after Simon Barnes decided to stand down.

“I hope to build on the excellent work that Simon has done in the last two and a half years,” said Ovenden, who has been in Dereham since 1984 and is well known for a range of roles including chairman of Dereham Area Partnership, churchwarden at St Nicholas Church, trustee of the Meeting Point and vice-chairman of the Local Strategic Partnership.

He took up the job with Dereham the highest-placed Norfolk team in the Ridgeons Premier Division just 24 hours before Tuesday night's home game with Wroxham when a 1-1 home draw took the Magpies to third.

Dereham entertain Kirkley and Pakefield on Saturday, which will be a dress rehearsal for next month's FA Vase match between the two sides.

The Magpies are also looking forward to a local derby against Fakenham next Tuesday at Aldiss Park in the League Cup.

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Ovenden said: “The club is in a strong position both on the field and on the corporate side. Matty Henman (Dereham manager) is bringing together a good team and to be in third position in the league is very good.”

Vice-chairman Mike Baldry had been due to take on the role of chairman but has decided against it for business reasons.

Ovenden has a lot of experience in football including instigating East Anglian Services Football during his time in the RAF and also as an Anglian Combination referee, including officiating Dereham games in the past.

Barnes said: “I think David will do a wonderful job. It was a unanimous decision of the committee and everyone is fully behind him.

“He has the football club at heart and has great enthusiasm.

“Matty is doing a fantastic job and it would just be nice to get some more supporters along to Aldiss Park.”

Dereham 1, Wroxham 1

The Magpies went ahead with a penalty in the ninth minute when Howes upended Howell in the box. Danny Beaumont netted a superb spot kick.

However, Wroxham made it all square three minutes later, with Lemmon's free-kick falling to Paul Cook, who fired home from 12 yards, writes Rene Kendal.

The visitors won a corner and a free-kick, but Dereham remained firm. Both teams played some neat approach play but neither keeper was tested in the next 20 minutes.

Beaumont drilled over then Wroxham broke forward, with Key sending over a dangerous low cross that was hacked to safety. Smith missed a good chance for the Magpies, chipping the ball wide.

The opening 20 minutes of the second period was even with good football being played. Dereham began to find more space but could not penetrate the Yachtsmen's defence.

Cook hit a powerful 30-yard drive straight into Higgs's arms but Dereham had the better of the second half. However, White missed a sitter for Wroxham on time, clipping the ball over the top when clean through, as the game finished all square.