Derby day glory for tangerines

PIVOTAL PERFORMANCE: Man-of-the-match Ben Lewis, left, stood out for Diss Town throughout the encounter
PIVOTAL PERFORMANCE: Man-of-the-match Ben Lewis, left, stood out for Diss Town throughout the encounter

Matt Dixon is confident Diss Town can continue to prove people wrong after sealing a vital 1-0 victory over neighbours Walsham-le-Willows in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division on Saturday.

In a less than memorable encounter at Brewers Greene Lane, Dixon struck the decisive blow after 11 minutes to get the Tangerines back on track after a 4-1 defeat to Brantham Athletic ended a six match unbeaten run.

And after helping to steer the Tangerines to derby-day delight over their rivals, the striker is confident his side can escape relegation as they sit currently four points adrift of Wivenhoe Town and safety.

“It was a great team performance and a big win after what happened last week against Brantham Athletic where we capitulated,”said the striker, whose side suffered an 11-0 humiliation in the same fixture last season.“It was a battle and we had a bit to prove to the fans so hopefully they are happy with that.

“I don’t care how the three points come as long as they come.

“At this stage of the season and where we are in the league we will take anything.

“We had to dig in deep and it is always tough this time of the year so it was a great performance from the whole squad.

“This sort of result shows the character of the squad.

“Mark has come in with a game plan and he has done everything he can to keep us up.

“We have to make sure we do what we are told on the pitch and this shows our mental strength to bounce back from last week’s defeat.

“That defeat is behind us now and we have bounced back with a good win.

“We have all come together as a group of players and we are ready to fight for survival.

“Before Christmas I think most people wrote us off and perhaps people still are now.

“But if you look at the form guide I think we have a good chance of staying up.

“Confidence is a big thing in football. Now we have that and I’m looking forward to the challenge of trying to stay up.”

“Hopefully we can keep that going and get something in the next few matches.”

In difficult conditions, the Willows started the brightest and created the first opportunity after just three minutes.

A flowing move down the right-hand side saw Andrew Wood release Tanner Call, whose cross found Jack Brame who could direct his header wide of Matt Powley’s goal.

Despite their slow start to proceedings it was the home side who broke the deadlock in the 11th minute.

Captain Jacob Brown found Kyle Downes on the right-hand side with the striker beating Dan Easlea before driving into the area.

And with time to get his head up, Downes played the ball across the goalmouth for strike partner Dixon to simply slot home at the back post.

That momentum continued with the hosts who dictated much of the remainder of the half and enjoyed the few chances created by either side.

One such opportunity saw Jason Cole beat two players through the centre of the field in the 24th minute before firing a weak 30-yard left footed effort tamely at Lee Pacey.

Just four minutes later Diss had a golden opportunity to double their advantage as Brown released Dixon beyond Walsham’s backline with a brilliant first-time pass.

However with only Pacey to beat, the striker failed to gather the ball with his wayward touch allowing it to run through to the visiting custodian.

The second-half proved even less eventful than the first 45 minutes with a lull of action proceeding in the first 30 minutes of the second period.

The early phases consisted of a number of bookings with Diss’ Chris Greenslade and Jordan Rowe and Walsham’s Jack Brame and Lee Sim receiving cautions as tempers flared bewtween the rival players in a scrappy period.

The visitors introducedplayer-assistant manager Paul Musgrove into proceedings to try to create a spark and it was the substitute who enjoyed the first real chance of the second-half in the 78th minute.

However, Musgrove failed to capitalise, curling his 25-yard free-kick over the right upright of Powley’s goal.

The Tangerines attempted to get a foot hold back in the match and came close to scoring a spectacular second with 10 minutes remaining as Dale Barrett attempted an audacious lob from the half-way line after Pacey’s poor clearance, with the keeper relieved to see the ball drop into his hands.

And despite having the goal advantage to defend, it was the home side who continued to pile on the pressure in the later stages.

And they had the chance to double their advantage with five minutes to play as a flowing move down the 
right-hand side saw two substitutes combine with Chris Holmes finding David Norman on the edge of the area, with the latter lashing a first-time left-foot effort wide of the mark.

The final chance of the match fell to Walsham’s Sim but the full-back could only slice his effort wide as Diss held out for a vital win.