It was back to back defeats for city over the festive period as the Lilywhites fell to a home defeat against an in-form Dereham Town.
City started the game brightly, but it was the Magpies who created the first opportunity of the match, Charlie Clarkes well struck effort from 20 yards bought a fine save from Joe Welch and it wasn’t long, before the visitors were celebrating in front of the very vocal away following.
With 13 minutes on the clock, former fan favourite, Ryan Swift put in a cross that was met by Ashton Fox and City found themselves behind, albeit slightly against the run of play.
21 mins had passed when Jarid Robson latched onto a superb long ball from Yaw Ofosu. Robsons first touch was exquisite as he plucked the ball from the air and lifted the ball over the keeper but unfortunately cleared the bar as well.
Then came the most bizarre moment of the first half. A skewed clearance from the Dereham Defender found it’s way bobbling agonisingly towards the away teams goal, Keeper Ross Bilham seemed have given up any hope as the ball struck the inside of the post. With the keeper floundering and trying to get something behind the ball, the officials concluded that the ball did not cross line despite desperate pleas from the home faithful.
This proved to be the theme of the entire game as top scorer Daniel Cotton saw his superb volley from just outside the box hit the post for a second time and bounce clear.
The match was end to end with both teams having chances but it was the visitors who scored again and it was that man again, Ryan Swift with his 9th goal of the season. His low free kick managed to evade everyone and nestle in the bottom corner leaving City with a mountain to climb.
Manager Robbie Nightingale reacted immediately in an attempt to increase the attacking intent, Daniel Akubuine was replaced by Ben Nolan and the young winger made an immediate impact looking threatening down the right wing.
Just before the break, City striker Ryan Ingrey found himself dancing through the Magpies defence only to be up ended near the by-line. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot to give City the chance to pull one back before half time. The usually dependable, Daniel Cotton stepped up to take the spot kick and launched the ball over the bar as the chance to get back into the game before half-time went begging.
The second half kicked off with City taking most of the possession, Dereham seemed happy to sit back and soak up the pressure while hitting back on the break on several occasions, twice being denied good opportunities by the offside flag.
The excellent Ben Nolan, was making life difficult for the Dereham back line, several times getting in behind them but the ball never quite fell to a City player, and with the game drifting away, Nolan himself saw his lifted effort go over the bar while Brad Gothard grazed the top of the bar with an excellent effort from 20 yards.
City got some consultation from the game on 90 mins when Daniel Cotton rifled in a volley that found it’s way through a sea of bodies and left the Dereham keeper no chance to make it 1-2.
With Dereham now seemingly content seeing out the clock with injuries and substitutions, there was still time for one last attempt at goal. It was that man Nolan again whose looping effort came back of the post and hit the Dereham defender square in the face before bouncing the wrong side of the post for a City corner.
A frustrating day all round, hitting the post 4 times and missing a penalty. The boys did, however, show a lot of character and spirit in keeping going to the very end. None more so than the tireless and eventual Man of the Match Ryan Ingrey, whose hold up play throughout the game was excellent.