Football preview round-up: Magpies look to fly again
PUBLISHED: 17:08 13 December 2019 | UPDATED: 17:08 13 December 2019
Adam Gusterson believes his Dereham Town can upset the odds when they head to leaders Maldon & Tiptree.
The Magpies saw a seven-game unbeaten run come to an end at Aldiss Park a week ago when they lost 3-1 at home to Tilbury.
On Saturday afternoon they will look to get another run started, but standing in their way is a team which sits top of the table, with three games in hand, and caught the attention of the footballing nation when they took League Two Newport to added time in their televised FA Cup second round tie.
But Gusterson believes his team are capable of holding their own.
"It is a free hit for us," said the Dereham boss.
"Maldon clearly have players who should be playing at a higher level and have swept away a number of higher league opponents already this season so it is going to be a big task to try and contain them.
"However, they are not unbeatable and we will go there with a plan of how we want to approach the game in order to try and gain a result."
Dereham will need top shrug off any after-effects from last weekend's setback when they found themselves 3-0 down at the break before clawing a goal back.
"We were second best and deserved to lose the game," he said. "We made some really poor individual errors which ultimately cost us.
"We did create lots of chances which was the pleasing aspect to take from the game and hit the woodwork three times so on another day we may have rescued something, but we cannot give away soft goals as we did, miss the number of chances we created and then expect to get results in this league."
Gusterson added: "It is a reminder in this league that as soon as you are not as it you just get punished. We have got to move forward and the thing with this league is you are always going to win games, you are always going to lose games, everyone can beat anyone and we have just got to make sure we try and get another run together.
The Dereham boss will be without talented young defender Charlie Dickerson, who is representing Norfolk, whilst Ryan Crisp and Adam Smith are injured.
However, skipper David Hinton returns after suspension.
Southern League Premier Central
Lowestoft Town entertain play-off chasing Rushall Olympic looking to build on their upsurge in form.
The Trawlerboys followed up an impressive victory at Hitchin by dispatching Alvechurch at home last weekend thanks to goals from Louis McIntosh, Malachi Linton (2) and Jake Reed.
They will be looking to climb further up the table for the visit of Rushall, who are well placed to mount a play-off challenge this season.
Jamie Godbold will have to do without the services of skipper Travis Cole, who is serving a one-match suspension. Rushall will be looking to bounce back from a 2-1 defeat at Stourbridge on Monday evening - a result that halted a five-match unbeaten run.
Pics boss Liam McDonald refused to be downhearted by the loss.
"We put in an almighty shift and acquitted ourselves really well, which bodes well for the challenges ahead, starting on Saturday as we face a long journey to Lowestoft Town," he said.
Wroxham return to action after a blank weekend to resume the chase at the top of the Premier Division.
It seems something of a lost cause with leaders Stowmarket ploughing a lonely furrow at the top.
But where there are points to be gained, there is hope - and second-placed Newmarket and the third-placed Yachtsmen each have three games in hand on the leaders, in which to make up gaps of 16 and 18 points respectively.
Norwich United are the latest team to try and break Stowmarket's resistance when they head to Greens Meadow where the hosts have dropped just two points in 10 league games - and conceded only four goals, with 34 scored. However, the Planters will point to their own away record - five wins and a draw in seven league trips is decent going by anyone's standards.
While sixth-place United are at Stowmarket, Newmarket host Mildenhall Town, while Wroxham, whose game at Godmanchester last week was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch, are at home to Hadleigh United, who currently occupy bottom spot in the table - although they have won their last two league games, at Ely then at home to Walsham le Willows last weekend.
Kirkley & Pakefield have a trip to FC Clacton, while there's a Norfolk derby at Emerald Park, where Gorleston - ahead of Hadleigh on goal difference only - will be desperate for a win against Thetford Town, whose mini resurgence is showing signs of levelling out after consecutive league defeats. Swaffham Town are away to Woodbridge.
In the First Division North, leaders Mulbarton host Needham Market Reserves, while second-placed Downham Town are at home to Leiston Reserves.
There are county bragging rights at stake at Great Yarmouth Town, who welcome Ipswich Wanderers. The Bloaters lost 4-0 at Diss a week ago and boss Rob McCombe is looking for more of a cutting edge.
"We gave ourselves a mountain to climb with a sloppy start to the game and lacked edge in the final third," he said. "We were efficient and tidy on the ball but have to become more effective in the advanced areas."
Waveney can pull clear at the top of the Premier Division.
The leaders have a home game against seventh-placed Long Stratton - while nearest challengers Harleston Town are without a game.
Both side are currently locked on the same number of points and separated by a goal difference of just two - although by the end of play, Waveney will still have two games in hand.
Harleston's second place is secure whatever happens - they could even go top if Long Stratton upset the odds in emphatic style - with third-placed Norwich Ceyms and Mundford both five points back. Ceyms are at home to bottom club St Andrews, still without a point to show for their efforts this season, while Mundford go to Caister.
Beccles Town have a trip to Blofield United, Acle United host Scole United and Hellesdon go to UEA.
In the First Division, leaders Wymondham have a trip to Watton, while Yelverton - a point back in second - host third-placed Attleborough.