Needham Market 2, Dereham Town 1

The Ridgeons Premier League rivals were playing for a place in the quarter-finals on a mud heap of a pitch today at the Bloomfields. With leading scorer Paul Atkins suspended through his sending off in the last round Dereham re-jigged their side with Danny Beaumont playing as a loan striker.

The Ridgeons Premier League rivals were playing for a place in the quarter-finals on a mud heap of a pitch today at the Bloomfields. With leading scorer Paul Atkins suspended through his sending off in the last round Dereham re-jigged their side with Danny Beaumont playing as a loan striker.

In the fourth minute a Barber long throw was headed behind for a corner by Williams, the defender then used his strength to clear Thrower's free kick.

Minutes later Dereham keeper Higgs made a great save to tip Bailey's looping header over the top following Thrower's deep free kick from just inside the visitors half.

As the home pressure continued Evans volleyed inches wide from just outside the area. Bexfield did well on the left but drilled a low cross into Higgs' arms as Dereham were finding it extremely difficult to defend in the thick mud.


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In the 15th minute Parker powerfully headed Evans' centre from the right inches wide. Higgs then made another fine save to turn Bailey's deflected 20 yard drive for a corner that was cleared. Defender Gusterson made a crucial interception to concede another corner as Dereham continued to weather the home storm.

With 25 minutes gone the Magpies were dealt a blow with keeper Higgs having to leave the field with Nathan Baker replacing him between the sticks. Dereham relieved the pressure by winning a free kick on the left, Beaumont's testing centre was cleared for a corner, from the flag kick Needham cleared their lines but Dereham threatened again with Ollie Willis' cross drifting behind to safety.

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The Magpies were now starting to look menacing and following a well worked four man move Smith blazed over the top from 20 yards. Keeper Baker then did well to gather Thrower's pacy free kick by his near post.

In the 39th minute Ollie Willis found space on the right and cut inside before forcing Jones into a fine save, minutes later the bubbly midfielder struck a crisp right footer across the keeper who again produced another outstanding save.

Needham took the lead in the 44th minute with CRAIG PARKER heading home Horlock's cross from the left from near the penalty spot.

t Half-time: Needham Market 1, Dereham 0

Needham were now having to defend in the thick mud as the Magpies looked to quickly restore parity. Parker was booked for failing to retreat from an Ollie Willis free kick.

The home side won a corner which was deflected behind for a goal kick. The Magpies won a flag kick after good work from Beaumont but the striker's centre was cleared.

In the 61st minute Beaumont latched on to a superb ball over the top from Smith but keeper Jones swiftly vacated his area to intercept. Needham's Evans then received the ball on the left and cut inside before being denied by keeper Baker.

Smith was carded for a foul 30 yards from the Dereham goalkeeper Baker made a great stop from Bailey's drive following Horlock's ball into the box. The Magpies were battling well in the atrocious conditions and were rewarded with an equaliser in the 73rd minute.

Defender Williams who was in outstanding form, played the ball forward to Furlong who in turn found GRAHAM BARRETT in the box, the Dereham skipper used all his experience weaving past two home defenders before beating Jones with a precise finish inside his left hand post.

Dereham were now on top but Needham created a great chance in the 80th minute with Evans' cross from the right meeting Smy who after chesting the ball down, the ball stuck in the mud allowing keeper Baker to make a vital goal line block.

After Dereham had had the better of the half the home side regained the lead in the 85th minute, Evans low cross from the right fell to substitute JOHN SPARKES who blazed home at the far post.

Dereham continued to battle hard for the equaliser with the Norfolk side giving their all in farcical conditions but it was the Suffolk team who progressed through to the last eight.

t Result: Needham Market 2, Dereham 1

t Needham Market: L Jones, L Pemberton, K Horlock, J Dennis, M Bailey, R Barber, J Evans, C Parker, D Smy, P Bexfield, D Thrower

Subs: J Sparkes, T Smith, R Butler, P Boyland, M Dixon

t Dereham: J Higgs, O Willis, B Furlong, D Buhlemann, S Williams, D Beaumont, N Howell, A Smith, S Willis, T Barrett, A Gusterson

Subs: C Terrington, J Eastoe-Smith, S Mowbray, J Brien, N Baker

t Ref: Mr C Miller, Northampton

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