Buster at the double as Greens climb to the summit
- Credit: Archant
Soham Town Rangers 3 Dereham Town 1
Buster Harradine’s double saw Soham Town Rangers shoot to the top of the league after victory against Dereham.
After falling behind in the first half, Steve Fallon’s side came roaring back to continue their fine form and land a place at the summit of the Ryman League Division One North table.
Early on it looked like Soham may lose only their second match since November after falling behind in disappointing fashion.
A slip by Martin Bromwich in the 17th minute allowed Dereham to counter-attack and play the rapid Shaun Bammant through on goal; the front man calmly slotting past keeper Enol Ordonez.
Soham had been struggling to get any momentum or rhythm in the match but hit back four minutes after conceding, Harradine scoring a superb goal out of nothing.
On the edge of a crowded penalty box, Harradine dummied past several players before unleashing a curling effort that flashed past the keeper into the top right-hand corner.
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Harradine also claimed the second goal in the 38th minute, getting the faintest of flicks from a Joey Abbs free-kick, after Chris Lindsay was fouled in a dangerous area.
Tempers flared throughout the match as both sets of players and fans felt aggrieved at refereeing decisions.
This came to a head when Harradine was booked for pulling Dereham’s Jay Eastoe-Smith to the ground by the neck and was followed by several bookings for dissent.
Harradine reacted after being pulled-back off the ball by Eastoe-Smith and although Eastoe-Smith’s reaction was dramatic, Harradine, if not both players, could count themselves lucky to remain on the pitch.
It was Harradine’s replacement, Sawyer, who secured Soham’s victory, using his pace to beat Dereham keeper Will Viner to a Connor Wood through ball, rounding the keeper before passing into the empty net in the 73rd minute.
Manager Fallon said it was a “great feeling” to be the league leaders and said he had encouraged his players at half-time to make sure they stayed at the top.
Fallon said he did not see the incident which led to Harradine’s booking but said “If he’s [the referee] given them a free-kick and a yellow card we’re lucky it wasn’t a red card.
On Sawyer’s performance, Fallon said: “He’s quick, has got a bit of skill. It was a very, very good goal and a calm finish. It’s not easy on that pitch.”
Praise was given to the ground staff who prepared a ground that only on Saturday was flooded.
Fallon said: “The ground staff have done a great job. It was difficult but playable but it didn’t affect the game.”
Positive in his outlook for the season and the game at the weekend away to 11th place Aveley, Fallon said: “At this moment in time we are top. Let’s try and stay there.”