The Magpies of Dereham Town motivated by last-gasp Ryman Division One North winner
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/phcimages.com
Dereham Town boss Matt Henman wants Adam Smith's injury-time winner to be the catalyst for more early-season victories.
Smith struck at the death on Tuesday night as the Magpies beat Aveley 2-1 at Aldiss Park to collect their first points of the new Ryman Division One North campaign. And, having lost 3-1 on the opening day at Chatham, Dereham's boss is looking to add to that tally against Redbridge on Saturday.
Henman said: 'We deserved to win on Tuesday. For a while it looked like it might be a frustrating evening. We had plenty of chances in the second half when they went down to 10 men.
'They had one chance on the break and scored while we had four or five good chances. Had Adam not scored and we not won it would have probably felt like a loss. We needed the win and it was really important after Saturday. Hopefully it will settle us down.
'The sooner you can get a win at the start of a season the better. When you have a poor result it puts a bit more pressure on the next game to do well. We expect to win our home games. Generally everything about Tuesday was better. The preparation and the attitude of the players, the work rate. We were better in all departments and now I want us to continue that.'
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An unexpected away defeat at Chatham was a disappointing start to the campaign following a fine pre-season. A 14th-minute penalty from Ryan Hawkins had pulled the teams level but the Norfolk club made a series of errors which cost them the match – even though their opponents had gone down to 10 men at 1-1.
Things looked more promising a few days later when Sam Borrer skilfully netted from 12 yards to give Dereham the lead against Aveley. Yet Hawkins gave away a spot-kick, which Sammy Knott stabbed home after Andy Wilton had saved Lee Weemes' effort, and it looked like the Magpies would collect only a point.
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However, Smith's free-kick took a slight deflection in time added on before looping over the visiting keeper to spark wild scenes.
Henman added: 'Last season we had a slow start. The league was new to us then though as we'd just been promoted. 'It took a bit longer for us to get going. It's good to have got some points on the board already and we now want to keep ourselves in the thick of it and not allow ourselves to get too far adrift of the five or six clubs who will start well.
'As I've said before, we target three points from every home game. And this weekend it's important that we follow up the performance on Tuesday which will hopefully help us get the same result.'
Kyle Downes is unavailable for winless Redbridge's visit while Nicky Howell could also miss out. The duo should return for Wednesday's trip to Romford – who also have three points from their opening two matches – but Matt Howard (work) is unlikely to be involved.
In the Thurlow Nunn First Division, the club's second-string have had a less enjoyable start to their campaign. They went down 2-0 at home to Needham Market Reserves on Saturday before tasting a 4-2 reverse at promotion hopefuls Swaffham Town on Tuesday. Alex Vincent was the destroyer-in-chief as he bagged a hat-trick while his fellow frontman Joe Jackson also found the net.
The Magpies' Reserves visit Stowmarket Town this weekend before hosting Downham Town on Wednesday evening.