Sheringham captain: We were the better side against Waveney
- Credit: Archant
Sheringham's promotion hopes were dealt a blow after they suffered a narrow defeat at home to league leaders Waveney.
The Shannocks lost 2-1 to the visitors at the Recreation Ground in the Almary Green Anglian Combination First Division on Saturday.
They had trailed 2-0 at the start of the second half following strikes by Sam Shepherd and Bradley Hough.
However, a goal from club captain Scott Sutherland-Gray just after the hour mark set up a frantic finish to the game.
Speaking to the North Norfolk News pitchside after the full-time whistle, Sutherland-Gray said: 'It's a hard one to take because we absolutely battered them when we went to their place at the beginning of the season and came away with a loss, and we've been on top today and missed a few chances and came away as losers again.
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'A draw might have been a fair result but I think if we had got another one and made it 2-2 we would have gone on to win the game. We were the better side out there so there's no reason why we couldn't, but it just wasn't our day.'
When asked what it meant for his side's promotion chances, he added: 'We've got a couple of games in hand over Stalham who are second so, hopefully if things go our way and other teams drop results, the league is wide open so it could either way.'
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Waveney, who have only lost one league game so far this season, kicked off the match but Sheringham were first to have a shot on target.
Sutherland-Gray forced James Bergin to save between the sticks, while his opposite number, Stuart Palmer, had to be alert at the other end of the park with a double save to deny Daniel Grigg inside the six yard box during the opening exchanges.
With the wind at their backs, it was the visitors who opened the scoring on the half hour mark. Referee Rob Emery awarded Waveney a free-kick just outside the penalty box after Tom Balls was judged to have fouled Luke Salmon. Shepherd struck the resultant spot kick low towards the goal and it took a wicked deflection off the wall into the corner of the net, beyond the reach of the diving keeper.
And the home side were fortunate not to fall further behind before half-time with Hough and Carl Burgess both being denied in front of goal - with Pearce having to be at his acrobatic best to deal with the danger.
Sheringham almost scored an equaliser within 60 seconds of the restart when Christopher Fuller sent a swirling shot goal-bound. But Bergin was equal to his effort and stretched to push the ball against the woodwork.
And, after clearing their lines, Waveney charged up the other end of the park to score in the 47th minute.
Hough doubled their advantage after beating his marker at the corner flag and going on a solo run into the penalty box before unleashing his shot which appeared to take a deflection off defender Sonnie Creasey on the way in.
Sheringham regained their composure and player-manager Roy Bevis saw his shot blocked on the line by Alex Greengrass after a break into the box.
But the home side kept up the pressure and were soon rewarded for their efforts with a goal in the 62nd minute.
Fuller twisted and turned two defenders to sneak a cross into the penalty area and Sutherland-Gray latched on to the end of it to volley the ball into the back of the net, leaving the keeper helpless.
Waveney defended deep but always looked threatening on the break, with Palmer blocking a Tom Mawford strike at goal with his foot at the opposite end.
Fuller's long throws into the box were causing the visitors no end of problems and the home side were denied a hat-trick of chances in the closing stages with Sutherland-Gray also seeing an effort rebound off the post and a claim for a hand-ball denied.
But Waveney held on for the full-time whistle to stretch their lead at the top of the table.
Reflecting on the game, Waveney manager George Millington said: 'It was a good battling performance, they played well to be fair to Sheringham but I think we deserved the win. But Sheringham are a good team and there is still a lot to play for.'
With skipper Ryan Bloomfield missing, the 47-year-old coach named himself among his side's substitutes. He added: 'Luckily I wasn't called upon - that was a tough game. Sheringham put us under a lot of pressure in the second half. I thought we had the better chances but we did ride our luck a couple of times. It's another win under our belts and we're halfway to securing promotion, but there is still a long way to go.'
Sheringham: Stuart Palmer, Winston Matthews (Zak Bevis 85), Sonnie Creasey, Shane Cox, Billy Grey, Tom Balls, Jonathan Large (Ben Stiles 76), James Lacey, Christopher Fuller, Scott Sutherland-Gray, Roy Bevis.
Waveney: James Bergin, Chris Bond, Alex Greengrass, Andy Hammersley, Daniel Grigg, Johnny Jarvis, Luke Salmon (James Smith 77), Carl Burgess, Tom Mawford. Bradley Hough, Sam Shepherd. Substitutes: George Millington, Michael King.