Ryman League North Dereham Town are on a roll
Dereham Town extended their unbeaten run to seven games with a 2-2 draw against Thurrock at Aldiss Park, writes Rene Kendal.
After falling behind, two penalties by Luke Tuttle put the Magpies in front, only for the high-flying Ryman League North visitors to grab an 84th-minute equaliser.
The entertaining match ebbed and flowed and could have gone either way.
Dereham manager Matt Henman was again pleased with his in-form side's display.
He said: 'I thought it was an excellent game.
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'At times we were very good and at times they had the upper hand.
'The only slightly disappointing thing for me is that when we went in front we could have controlled the game better.
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'However they finished strong and a draw was a fair result.'
Ross Wall had given Thurrock the lead when he was the first to react and slotted a loose ball home with 18 minutes on the clock.
The equaliser came when Dereham were awarded a penalty shortly before the break. Michael Toner was penalised for handball and Tuttle sent keeper Rhys Madden the wrong way.
Tuttle's second spot kick came after substitute Luke Winter was upended by defender George Winn on 75 minutes – and again the Dereham man sent the keeper the wrong way.
Magpies keeper Will Viner then denied Wall, but on 84 minutes, David Cowley robbed Dan Morphew just inside the box and netted with a precise right-foot drive.
The point leaves Dereham in ninth place in the table going into the festive programme.
On Boxing Day the Magpies have another tough looking fixture at seventh-placed Bury Town.
Henman added: 'We will be looking to keep our run going and will be expecting a close game.
'If we can maintain our current level of performance then we should achieve a result.'
Matt Howard will return for the Magpies and it is hoped that Lewis Butcher will be fit.
Sam Borrer, Ryan Crisp and Luke Winter are, however, missing from the travelling playing party.
The match kicks-off at the earlier time of 1pm. Turnstiles open at 11.30am.
Bury warmed up for the match by losing 1-0 at home to Thamesmead Town at the weekend.
Dereham Town Reserves' last match of 2015 takes place on Monday at Downham Town (3pm kick-off).
Going into the match the Magpies' second-string – who haven't played since their 2-1 Saturday December 12 defeat at the hands of Woodbridge Town – sit 16th in the 19-team Thurlow Nunn League First Division table.
An away victory at Downham, 14th, would see Dereham leapfrog them in the table.