Bostik North: Romford 3 Dereham Town 4
PUBLISHED: 17:19 16 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:19 16 February 2019
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Romford were left to rue a slow-start against in-form Dereham as they came up short after some late drama at Rookery Hill.
The Magpies, unbeaten in five and with three successive wins under their belts, had an early chance on two minutes, but a 30-yard free-kick was fired over the bar by Daniel Beaumont.
They did not have to wait long to get their noses in front, though, as David Hinton fired home following a goalmouth scramble at a Beaumont corner on six minutes.
Boro were inches away from getting back on level terms moments later as Toby Barlow thumped a volley off the crossbar.
But Joe Gatting headed straight at Harry Aldridge on 12 minutes, before the visitors doubled their lead as Beaumont’s cross to the far post went in off the chest of Malaki Toussaint for an own goal.
Toussaint made amends just four minutes later, though, as he ran onto a ball in the inside right channel and lobbed it over the onrushing Jake Cox.
But Matthew Castellan headed a good chance over from a Beaumont free-kick on 24 minutes as in-form Dereham looked to restore their two-goal cushion.
And it was 3-1 on 34 minutes when another corner from Beaumont on the left found Castellan at the far post to head back across goal for Gatting to nod over the line.
Hinton sent a rising drive over the crossbar from another corner from the right three minutes later as Boro remained under attack, with Rhys Logan forcing Aldridge into a diving save during stoppage time.
The hosts had the first sight of goal in the second half as Cox came out of his goal to challenge Khadean Campbell and saw the ball deflect back towards goal but wide of the post.
Dion Frary then forced Aldridge to turn a fierce drive behind for a corner, before Reynolds headed over from a Romford corner on 53 minutes.
Boro then worked the ball on the right and Michael Mignot had a shot blocked and sent a second effort over the crossbar as the home side tried desperately to force their way back into the game.
But the Magpies countered and Hinton played in Ryan Crisp, whose shot was deflected behind for a corner just before the hour mark.
Aldridge saved well from Crisp midway through the second half, after Beaumont, Gatting and Samuel Borrer had combined in the build-up, with Crisp putting another effort over when Adam Hipperson, Hinton and Logan worked the ball up the pitch to create the chance.
Romford then had a great chance to cut the gap to one when a cross from the right was met by Hewitt at the far post, but Cox produced an excellent save at full stretch to deny him.
And, to make matters worse for Boro, the visitors then made it 4-1 just a minute later as Gatting converted a pass from Hipperson, after Crisp had put pressure on the home defence.
Mignot headed wide at the far post from Hewitt’s left-wing cross as beleaguered Boro sought a consolation, but Magpies saw Beaumont dismissed for two bookings in quick succession.
And substitute Chris Taylor turned home a second Romford goal from a goalmouth scramble with five minutes left, before Hewitt’s 25-yard free-kick flew low under the wall in the last minute of normal time.
Romford: Aldridge, Joseph, Barlow (Fisher 74), Reynolds (Taylor 73), Brown-Bampoe, Cossington, Toussaint, Olukoga, Campbell, Mignot, Hewitt. Unused subs: Kellum, Hussein, Nesbitt.