Dereham Town suffered an unexpected and disappointing defeat in their season opener away at Chatham Town.

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After an excellent pre-season the Magpies started well at The Sports Ground but fell behind after 20 minutes, due to the match referee overruling the linesman over whether Austin Gacheru had strayed into an offside position or not.

Dereham responded well and 14 minutes after going behind Ryan Hawkins pulled Matt Henman’s side level from the penalty as Chatham were reduced to 10 men as Liam Hickey received his marching orders.

With the match looking like it was in Dereham’s hands, a series of uncharacteristic errors from the Magpies cost them the match. Firstly Ade Yusuff restored the Chatham lead as he converted a cheap penalty before a Jay Eastoe-Smith own goal sealed three points for the hosts.

After the match Aldiss Park boss Henman admitted it was a disappointing day all round.

He said: “We arrived late to the match, leaving us with just 30 minutes to prepare which is never ideal, especially after such a long journey away form home. However, saying that I thought we started well on a tough pitch which limited us to a direct style of play and overall we did well in the early stages of the match, and the way we went behind was very frustrating as it was a big decision which cost us.

“We did well to get back on level terms but in the end we hit the self destruct button through ill discipline and they looked the more likely to add to the scoreline.”

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