Two Chasetown players battle for the ball in midfield. Pic: Dave Birt
Two Chasetown players battle for the ball in midfield. Pic: Dave Birt

Manager Craig Harris apologised for the disappointing performance at Dereham Town as Chasetown bowed out of the FA Cup.

The Norfolk side had won their first ten games of the season and although sat one league lower in the non-league pyramid, they were undoubtedly favourites for this cup tie.

The Magpies got at Chasetown early on but the Scholars weathered the early storm and had the first serious attempt at goal after 23 minutes when Simon Brown’s right footer was palmed wide by Andrew Wilton.

Dereham went ahead though in the 31st minute with a well worked goal which opened up the Chasetown defence before Scott Sutherland-Grey netted with a right foot shot across Lee Evans into the corner of the goal.

Wilton was impressing in the home goal. Either side of half-time he kept his side ahead with splendid saves. Firstly, Danny Smith fed Greg Downes and the Aussie’s shot was parried by Wilton and he pounced on the rebound before Nick Wellecomme could get to the rebound. Then, in a similar incident, Wilton clung on to a Downes header with Smith ready to turn the ball in if the ball had come loose.

Dereham doubled their lead eight minutes into the second half as they caught Chasetown upfield. A Scholars attack broke down with a misplaced pass from Matt Jackson and one long ball over the top fell to the feet of Nicholas Howell and he advanced, kept his composure and slid the ball past Evans.

If that wasn’t the wake up call for Chasetown, the game could have been dead and buried just after the hour. A quickly taken free-kick caught the Chasetown defence napping and Jack Farmer only succeeded in conceding a foul on Luke Tuttle with the referee pointing straight to the spot.

Gary Hay holds off his marker. Pic: Dave Birt

Adam Gusterson’s penalty was brilliantly saved by Evans and the travelling Scholars faithful began to believe that was the turning point to get them back into the game.

Wilton made a good save to keep out Smith and then 11 minutes from time Chasetown finally got the breakthrough. First Gary Hay saw his header saved by Wilton, the follow up falling to Richard Teesdale who saw his effort blocked on the line before Danny Smith reacted quickest and got enough on the ball to steer it home – hardly a candidate for goal of the season but precious for the fightback.

There were 30-plus Chasetown fans that made the 310 mile round trip and for 15 minutes they were making some noise urging their team for that elusive equaliser. The best chance came in stoppage time when Teesdale got a header goalwards but Wilton was right behind it and clung on for win 11 out of 11.

Dereham Town: Wilton, O Willis, Hannant, Howard, Starling, Howell (Roberts, 84 mins), Gusterson, Borrer, Bussens (Kay, 89 mins), Sutherland-Gray (S Willis, 76 mins), Tuttle. Subs not used: Kay, Woodgate, Fox.
Evans, Farmer (Sullivan, 81 mins), Jackson, Slater, Bate, Teesdale, Brown, Westwood, Wellecomme (Hay, 75 mins), Smith, Downes (Clarke-O’Connell, 62 mins). Subs not used: Richardson, Branch, Saunders, Maguire.