Close games for Loddon

Loddon 1, Beccles 2ON Tuesday night Loddon played host to another local rival looking for honours - Beccles.A hard, bobbly pitch meant we saw little in the way of decent football.

Loddon 1, Beccles 2

ON Tuesday night Loddon played host to another local rival looking for honours - Beccles.

A hard, bobbly pitch meant we saw little in the way of decent football. Loddon were awarded a penalty on eight minutes after a push on Dan Andersen and Marjoribanks converted.

On 33 minutes Beccles' front two combined neatly at pace to conjure a smart equaliser.

With 20 minutes remaining a Beccles free-kick was only half cleared by Loddon, Beccles got to the

byline, failed to close successfully and the low cross was converted from inside the six-yard box to put Beccles in front. A deserved 2-1 victory for the visitors as Loddon fail again to perform at home.

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Musker McIntyre MoM for Loddon, despite conceding two, was Robbie Howes.

Hempnall 2, Loddon Utd 2

LODDON and Hempnall served up a 55-minute local derby feast of all that is good about “village” football; commitment, passion and above all decent football.

The game was end to end right from the start. The ball was passed around well by both teams. Squire was just beaten to the ball by the home keeper and Dan Andersen was offside after a sweet move and soon after tested the keeper with a low drive. Matt Ayre won his headers against some experienced opponents and young Robbie Howes was showed no nerves with good handling and excellent throw-outs.

Hempnall were given a free-kick on the left when they would have preferred advantage. Dan Andersen got up well to clear the kick but a snap-shot saw Howes make a tremendous save at the foot of a post; he slipped as Hempnall followed up but they missed their chance from close in.

Loddon held possession for a while in midfield and on the right, moving the ball quickly and accurately but not getting a shot away. But on 20 minutes a lapse in concentration allowed Hempnall to take a short corner, and space for a shot, then cleverly deflected beyond Howes which made it 1-0.

Another Hempnall corner saw Chris Andersen dive to block a shot from six yards. Chris then got to the other end to finish a flowing seven man move with crisp drive beyond the far post. Summons played a one-two with the ref and a neat chip from Marjorbanks found Brown in space. His ball to Dan Andersen was just too long.

Hempnall then hit Loddon with another sucker punch. They held well, found a runner on the left, he looped a high cross over Howes to the far post and a height mismatch against Robin Andersen allowed the Hempnall player to head home. 2-0.

Loddon were the better team and found themselves two goals down; a real test of character was called for. That test was duly passed as less than a minute later Summons and Hancock ran rings around their markers, found Marjoribanks just inside the box who controlled, turned and fired home - to the delight of the Loddon supporters and Loddon were back in it.

Loddon had to defend some throws and corners, which they did well. Ayre and Durrant continued to dominate and the midfield continued to press and probe at every opportunity. Summons won a header in the middle and found Squire on the left who won a throw. The throw found Hancock who strode forward, dropped his shoulder, slipped by two defenders in the box, knocked back to Brown who lost his marker and fired in first time for a great leveller.

Ayre had a half-chance from a free-kick and Hempnall shot wide before the break.

The second half started as open as the first ended. Durrant hit a great pass to Robin Andersen who headed neatly to himself to beat the full-back and smacked a drive on the run which fizzed by the top corner. Ten minutes into the half it all changed. Durrant fed the ball through to Brown, the tackle came in and Brown raised his hands to push his opponent away and the ref showed a red card.

This spoiled the game as a spectacle, but Loddon defended well and dealt with most Hempnall could throw at them with the extra man. Halfway through the half fresh legs were supplied in the shape of Knights, who came on for Squire.

Durrant had a run and hit a shot which fell to Marjorbanks for another but the keeper cleared. Hempnall had several chances but when they hit the target, Howes was there.

Parkin replaced Dan Andersen for the last 15 minutes as Loddon tightened up the middle. With six minutes left, and Loddon looking to hold out comfortably for a draw, Hempnall broke left, Durrant closed, the forward went down, and the ref pointed to the spot and booked a frustrated and irate Durrant. But justice prevailed as the spot-kick was fired wide.

Shortly after Marjoribanks had a chance set up by Summons but his tired shot was straight at the keeper and forgiveable considering the endless running and work he had put in. Loddon deservedly hung on for a creditable draw. MoM: Matt Ayre.