Mulbarton Wanderers Vs Dereham Town – Ashtons Legal Senior Cup Final 21-22
The rain cleared ahead of tonight’s Ashtons Legal Senior Cup final where Mulbarton Wanderers faced Dereham Town in a hard-fought battle for silverware in front of the Carrow Road spectators. Both the Magpies and the Wanderers had a presence in the stands tonight with 1197 in attendance. However, it was the Wanderers fans leaving in elation as Mulbarton lifted the Ashtons Legal Senior Cup.
The first half kicked off with an immediate free kick for Mulbarton following a foul in the middle of the park. The ball was delicately floated into the box and was met with a scramble passes and shots. The ball finally fell nicely to Ben Jones who struck a powerful volley through the crowded penalty area before being deflected by a Dereham defender. Shouts for hand ball and a penalty consumed the crowd. However, match official Adrian George waved the shouts away and the game carried on.
Dereham Town looked calm and composed throughout the half keeping to their formation and tactics. The Magpies kept possession playing across the backline in the early stages working the ball throughout the thirds trying to create early opportunities to put their strikers through on goal. Dereham’s strength when switching the ball became apparent quickly as they continued to open space out wide for their wingers, Adam Hipperson and Luke Johnson, to push forward.
Mulbarton’s work ethic looked impressive as they chased and pressed every stray pass they could find troubling Dereham on the ball. Ben Thompson’s incredible work rate led the front of the Wanderers attack dictating the press and making runs in behind throughout the opening minutes.
On the 15th minute mark, penalty shouts once again filled the atmosphere within the Dereham Town spectator section as David Hinton was brought down in the penalty box following a collision. Once again, the shouts were ignored as the match official progressed on the play.
Cruise Nyadzayo worked his magic down the right in the first 15 managing to break free of his man and cut inside. His strike from 20 yards out was just wide of the post but announced his presence within the game. Dereham reacted to this play with an immediate attack of their own as Adam Hipperson took on 3 defenders in a fantastic solo run seeing him travel half the pitch into the box only for his shot to be blocked by a moment of bravery from Kieran Smith.
Dereham deepened their pressure at the 20th minute mark with numerous crosses falling just short of their attackers in the box. However, the Magpies proved dangerous from distance as Dion Frary mopped up a stray clearance from the Wanderers defence powering a low-driven strike goal wards. Tom Wright was quick on his feet to get across and catch the effort and allow his side to reset from the onslaught of possession from the Magpies.
In the 22nd minute Dereham’s Hilliard latched on to a corner and headed the ball into the net. The fans went wild but were quickly stunned as Referee, Adrian George disallowed the goal for an infringement in the box.
The deadlock was unable to be broken as the minutes counted down to the match officials half-time whistle as both sides teams had had ample opportunities in front of goal but failed to convert their chances.
With 5 mins left to play Hilliard entered Adrian George’s book for bringing down a Mulbarton defender when chasing and pressing a ball through on goal. This proved to be the last moment of action of the first 45 as both sides were unable to break the deadlock as they entered the break.
Half Time – Mulbarton Wanderers 0 – 0 Dereham Town
Both teams entered the second half hoping to get an advantage early on and set the pace of the game in their favour.
The first chance of the half came about from Hipperson’s dazzling run being hindered by a late challenge in a dangerous territory at the edge of the penalty area. The free kick looked to threaten Mulbarton’s goal as Rhys Logan delivered an in-swinging cross that was met with a promising header from Shaun Bammant who thought he had found the bottom right corner of the goal. However, he was denied by another stunning reaction save by Wright in the Wanderers goal keeping the game goalless.
Moments later Mulbarton’s captain James Page was the next to enter the referee’s book with a clumsy challenge at the halfway line. The free kick came to nothing for Dereham but Mulbarton were quick to burst out of their own half and attack quickly. Wanderers shifted the ball down the left wing and delivered into the box. The play came to nothing as the ball soared over the crossbar after being met by a Mulbarton forward who was unlucky with his effort.
Dereham continued to pressurise the Mulbarton goal with a flurry of attacks in the first 15 minutes of the half. A corner proved to be their most dangerous moment as Bammant met the ball in the box with an acrobatic effort that sailed over the crossbar. This added to the near misses both teams experienced in the opening minutes of the second 45.
However, it was finally broken with Mulbarton taking the advantage following a counterattack from a Dereham attack. Dereham looked to be through on goal as captain David Hinton twisted and turned skilfully through the defence only to be denied by a fabulous foot save from Wright. The play quickly took a turn with Wright setting Mulbarton through on a counter attack leading to Jones being fouled down the right wing. Player-manager Danny Self stepped up to take the kick delivering a curling cross to the back post looking to find his strike force. Unfortunately for the Magpies, the free kick was met by their own player resulting in an own goal giving the Wanderers the lead in the 63rd minute.
A messy spell of play from both sides followed the goal with tensions heightening in response. Dereham were eager to find their equaliser immediately with countless attacks being thrown at Wright and his defence. The long ball looked to be the tactic as Hilliard and Bammant made runs in behind troubling the Mulbarton centre backs. However, Wanderers defence held their line strong delivering crunching tackles to keep their clen sheet as the game entered the late period.
It wasn’t long until Dereham’s efforts were deservingly rewarded as they finally broke down the Mulbarton back line. In the 71st minute, Hipperson continued to cause problems by finding Johnson out wide on the right. The winger’s low cross found a sliding Hilliard at the back-post who made no mistake in levelling the game.
With 5 minutes left of the 90, Dereham looked the most promising to extend their lead. Their best effort came as Rossi Jarvis found space inside the box and powered a shot on target. Once again, Wright was the Wanderers’ saviour as he quickly reacted with his feet to deny the Magpies going ahead in the crucial last few minutes of the game.
With only minutes to play, Mulbarton were awarded a free kick just inside the Dereham half. It was quickly taken and found the feet of Kieran Smith who looped a cross into a dangerous area. A Mulbarton head nodded the ball into the path of Joe Easton who volleyed the ball home to give his side the lead against the run of play in the 86th minute.
Dereham needed a rapid reply and immediately pushed higher into the Wanderers’ half, with just 4 minutes of additional time left to be played. The Wanderers took a defensive shape to protect their lead as the Magpies mounted on the pressure in the crucial last minutes of the game.
Yet, it wasn’t meant to be for Dereham as Mulbarton held out strong in the final moments and succeeded in lifting this year’s Ashtons Legal Senior Cup.
Full Time – Mulbarton Wanderers 2 – 1 Dereham Town
Mulbarton Wanderers: Tom Wright, Kieran Smith, Dom Doggett, James Page ©, Joe Easton, Toby Oliver, Cruise Nyadzayo, Danny Self, Ben Thompson, Ben Jones, Tim Henery
Subs: Ian Fancett, Danny Beaumont, Thomas Matthews, Elliot Altay, Scott Foreman
Dereham Town: Joseph Rider, Luke Johnson, Dion Frary, Rossi Jarvis, Matthew Castellan, Ashton Fox, Rhys Logan, Davin Hinton ©, Shaun Bammant, Toby Hilliard, Adam Hipperson
Subs: Andrew Fisk, Robbie Linford, Adam Smith, Jacek Zielonka, Kai Thurston
Referee: Adrian George
Assistants: Ashley Tyne & Oliver Sadd
Fourth Official: Ashley Smith
Player of the Match: Tom Wright
Photography: Matthew Usher