Flying Fleet brush Dereham aside to go second

Dereham Town 0, Thurrock 2

IT took them a while to get going after a summer spent battling the FA's disciplinary bureaucrats, but now Fleet are flying.

A David Knight inspired Thurrock took a long trip to Norfolk on Saturday and returned with another three points.

Dereham - third in the Ryman Division One North - posed the first real challenge to Fleet's ever-strengthening promotion credentials and Mark Stimson's side passed.

Now, they're second in the league, four points behind stuttering league leaders VCD and two ahead of third placed Witham Town - albeit having played four more games.

Witham beat VCD 4-1 on Saturday and with a busy Christmas schedule looming large, it is the North Essex side and Thurrock who are in the best form.

After just three wins in their first seven league games, Fleet are pulling themselves together.

Last week, keeper Andy Walker was awarded goalkeeper of the month. In his last eight league games, Walker has conceded just three goals.

And on Saturday, he again kept a clean sheet as Knight once more found the net. The former Met Police striker now has 13 goals in 14 appearances for the club.

But it was Lewwis Spence who opened the scoring 74 minutes into the game in Norfolk. He gathered a quick free-kick played from inside the Thurrock half by Lewis Clark before bursting through the defence and lashing the ball home from a tight angle.

Knight couldn't help but add to his tally though and did so in the 84th minute, gathering a pass from Ross Wall before slotting the ball home from close range.

Some of the shine was taken off Thurrock's win as 78th minute sub Loui Hazelwood was shown two yellow cards in less than 10 minutes and given his marching orders.

But Fleet came through a thrilling game to assert themselves as serious promotion candidates. They face Chatham Town at Ship Lane on Saturday, looking to make it five league wins on the bounce.

Thurrock: Walker; L Clark (Hazelwood 78), Sutton, Santos, King; R Clark, Perkins (Stanley 12), Spence, Warner; Knight, Wall.

Subs not used: Ibe, Ottley, Martin.

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