Point should be enough

Evergreens 1, Dereham Ladies III 1

HOCKEY: With two league games left to play and Dereham only five points clear of the bottom team, they knew this was a game they could not afford to lose.

Dereham started brightly, getting hold of the ball and passing and moving well, but when not in possession they looked a little stretched and disorganised.

The game was end-to-end with both teams moving the ball at pace and finding space in midfield but failing to find that final ball and shot in open play.

Both teams won several short corners in the first half but neither had a polished routine to convert them into goals.

With a just a few minutes to play before the half-time interval Dereham made a quick break. The play was spread wide right to winger Emma Allsop, who took on and beat two or three Evergreens defenders on her way to the base line of the D.

Allsop crossed to on-rushing centre-forward Jackie Taylor at the P spot, whose perfect first time strike left the Evergreen's defender and goalkeeper no chance as it rose and hit the back of the net.

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The second half continued in a similar pattern with both teams struggling to create real clear-cut opportunities on goal, though Dereham did have two efforts roll across the Evergreens' goal-line.

Evergreens equalised about midway through the second half, when ex-Dereham player Jess Shand reacted first to a saved short-corner strike to coolly slotg home the rebound, unmarked at the far post.

A draw seemed a fair result at the end of a well-mannered game, and the point will hopefully see Dereham safe for another season in the Norfolk Premier.

PoM: Charlotte Reeve.

Squad: Allsop, Barnard, Bebbington, Colman, Hazel, Hazel, Lavers, Milton, Morgan (captain), Reeve, Taylor, Z Taylor, Waters.