WITH luck not on their side, it may not have been the result he wanted to see, but Witham Town manager Mark Ashford was enthused by an improved display from his team as they faced Dereham Town last weekend.

Witham had Siju Odelusi on target twice - at both ends of the game - but with three goals from Dereham in the intervening spell the Norfolk side won 3-2 in the Bostik League division north encounter.

Despite the result, though, it was a much better show from Witham than in the defeat by Romford the week before and Ashford was pleased to see a positive response from his players.

He said: "I was a bit concerned after the Romford game after how we'd played, but we had a long chat then - a healthy one - had a good week of training and then put in a really good performance against Dereham.

"There was a big difference in the performance levels from the Romford game and we put in what I felt - and others have said to me - was a good performance against Dereham. "There were a lot of chances that we created in both halves."

On the day, though, Witham were unable to turned those chances into more goals and, with some key decisions going against them, it ended in a result they felt was less than they deserved.

"We hit the woodwork three times, twice in the first half when we were one-nil ahead," added Ashford.

"There was also a penalty awarded against us that we felt was really harsh and it was one of those things that can go against you when you are down there.

"We had the game videoed and looking back at the footage, you can see every single player on both sides turned away when the whistle was blown and not one from either team thought it was a penalty.

"There were no appeals but the referee gave it and they scored. "That was harsh and when your confidence is a bit low, it's the type of thing that can hurt you.

"We had got the early goal and deservedly went ahead then Johnny Ashman and Jack Lelliott hit the woodwork and we looked in control, but the penalty knocked the stuffing out of us a bit and it gave them a foothold in the game.

"They then got a second, but we had a chat at half-time and came out well after the break.

"We felt we have not done ourselves justice at Romford the week before when we looked like we froze under the pressure, but this was different.

"We looked good again at the start of the second half and created more chances.

"However, Dereham scored with their first attack of the second half and we had to go again.

"At 3-1, though, I was really pleased how the players kept going.

"They could have let their heads go, but they rolled their sleeves up.

"We scored from a penalty ourselves and hit the woodwork again in the dying minutes and I felt a draw was the least we deserved.

"Speaking to the players afterwards, they sensed that we had played well and they could see the chances we had created.

"They knew that just a little bit better in both boxes and we'd have been looking at all three points."