Brentwood Town rued a missed opportunity to catch the top two after a 1-0 defeat to promotion pushers Dereham Town at the Brentwood Arena.
Ross Bailey’s goal in added time of the first half was enough to secure the three points for the visitors, as they now move closer to a playoff place.
Brentwood were without both of their inform strikers Sherwin Stanley and Tom Richardson due to injury, as Brentwood lacked a cutting edge up front.
Dereham had the majority of the possession in the first half hour of the game but neither side could muster a shot on target.
The first chance of the game went to the visitors as a whipped in corner by Fraser Blake-Tracy was met by Lewis Storman’s bullet header, which was denied by a header off the line by Ryan O’Rawe.
Just before the break Sam Bantick had a free-kick which he over hit, evading everyone and almost found a way in as it clipped the top of the crossbar.
In the fourth minute of injury-time in the first half, Brentwood switched off as Ryan Hawkins original cross came off O’Rawe which caused a scramble in the box. The ball eventually fell to the edge of the six yard box for Bailey to tuck it into an empty net, to lead at the death of the half.
With 20 minutes to play Brentwood threw caution to the wind as Alex Akrofi replaced Marcus Milner.
Robbie Rees’ corner was almost headed in by Christian Mbulu but pressure from the defender and an outstretched arm by the keeper caused him to head over.
The referee signalled nine minutes added time after the 90 for the amount of stoppages throughout the second half. But Brentwood could not create a clear chance to snatch an equaliser as Dereham take all three points back to Norfolk.
Brentwood Town Lineup: Ollie Bowles, Christian Mbulu, Louis Baucutt, Martyn Stokes ©, Ryan O’ Rawe, Robbie Rees, James Love, Daryl Robson (84), Emmanuel Osei, Marcus Milner (60), Sam Bantick
Substitutes: Alex Akrofi (60), Shad Ngandu (84), Ryan Mcfarlane, Tom Richardson, Tommy Oliver
Dereham Town Lineup: Andrew Wilton, Harry Barker, Fraser Blake-Tracy, Lewis Storman, Matt Howard, Jay Eastoe-Smith, Arron Kay (85), Ross Bailey, Craig Bussens, Sam Borrer, Ryan Hawkins (70)
Substitutes: Louis Mason (85), Nathan Page, Liam Wales (70)