Watton 0 – 2 Dereham Ladies 1st
Dereham made the short trip to Watton for a local derby under the lights at Watton sports centre.
Dereham started slowly and Watton took full advantage of this by putting Dereham under early pressure. Sharp goalkeeping and firm defending from Helen Malcomson, Tammy Dye and Eve Coulet Settle kept the score at 0-0. Jess Nightingale Webb was called into action again shortly after and closed the Watton forward down well to null the danger.
This woke Dereham up and with tackles flying in, Dereham managed to break through the lines of the Watton defences. Ali Waters charged into the right hand side of the D only to fire her shot wide of the target.
Watton pushed forward but struggled to break Dereham down and this led to Dereham having a fine counter of their own. Edie Topping picked the ball up near the half way line and drove strongly all the way to the Watton D, where her shot was saved well by the keeper and Charlotte Taylor fired the rebound wide of the target.
After 20 minutes Dereham got themselves ahead in the game when Helen Malcomson drove round the back of the Watton defence and pulled the ball back to Charlotte Taylor, whose first shot was blocked. Her pass fell to Edie Topping who, once again, was in the right place at the right time to fire the ball home.
Dereham should have doubled their lead leading up to half time when Nat Grapes won the ball and played a nice ball to Lucy Soame. Lucy drove quickly and directly at the D and fired a shot that beat the keeper, but hit a Watton foot which was not spotted by either umpire so the score remained 1-0 to Dereham at half time
Dereham Ladies 1st vs Watton Second Half
The second half started quietly with possession being won and lost in midfield, but it was Watton who had the first chance of the half when they were awarded a short corner. They worked the ball well to the left slip, then the injector who squared the ball to the back post only for the Watton player to miss a glorious chance.
Dereham then pulled their socks up and dominated the possession for the rest of the half and created several chances. The first coming from Pip Howes who wormed away from her player and fired her reverse stick short towards the near post, but it was well saved by an on-form keeper.
Next up and this time it was Pip Howes turning provider for Fran Grapes. Howes burst through several agricultural tackles and rolled Fran Grapes in whose shot was saved again.
Finally the pressure took its toll on the home side. A well worked move down the right from Grace Cresswell, Ali Waters and finally Edie Topping saw a run and drive into the D, followed by a square pass to Fran Grapes who made no mistake and buried her shot into the far corner. A goal her hard work deserved.
In the final moments of the game Dereham still pressed on and won 2 short corners by determined work from Sarah Dove to win them. The first short corner was struck by Pip Howes – straight at the keeper, but in the resulting scramble another short corner was won. This time Nat Grapes superbly dragged and flicked from the top, only to see her flick hit the crossbar and deflect over.
The game finished 2-0 to Dereham and another valuable 3 points. Next up for Dereham is another short away trip to Taverham to face Norwich City.