Hancock goal gives Loddon victory

Cromer Town 0, Loddon United 1SECOND playing host to third, equal points: an exciting Anglian Combination Premier Division game was in prospect.This win sees Loddon second on goal difference to Hempnall.

Cromer Town 0, Loddon United 1

SECOND playing host to third, equal points: an exciting Anglian Combination Premier Division game was in prospect.

This win sees Loddon second on goal difference to Hempnall. Both have 19 points from nine matches.

Tomorrow, Loddon are in Mummery Cup second round action (1.30pm ko) at Acle United while Hempnall entertain third-bottom Hindringham in the league.

On Saturday, Loddon won an early free-kick which fell to Ricky Summons who hit a fierce left-foot volley over the bar.

From a Cromer free-kick, Collins and two Cromer players collided and play held up for several minutes. Fortunately for Loddon, Collins recovered, but the Cromer defender involved had to be replaced five minutes later and the club wish him well.

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Cromer pushed forward and Hancock and Baylis made good clearances while Loddon's forwards had to chase back to help out. On 15 minutes Shipley picked out Wright, who beat the keeper - but his shot was deflected for a corner which Way could only head to the keeper.

Marjoribanks held the ball up in the corner, laid it back to Andersen whose cross almost reached Hancock. Gricks was then fouled in the centre circle, but Marjoribanks played on only, to be booked for kicking the ball away.

With half an hour gone Cromer played a lovely one-two around Way and Baylis, but Way got back to make a superbly-timed tackle and recover the situation. Collins held the resulting corner well, as he did a snap shot shortly after. Cromer were dominating at this stage and Loddon were struggling to keep the ball.

However, a long ball was headed on by Oliver, Marjoribanks turned and shot, and pulled a good save from the home keeper. From the corner, Hancock latched onto a loose ball in the box and fired his seventh goal of the season.

Cromer came forward again but Andersen made a great tackle on the edge of his box and came away with the ball. He found Marjoribanks, who spread it wide to Hancock. His cross looked for Wright in the box but he was outnumbered by three defenders.

Town attacks were thwarted by Way and Shipley and with five minutes extra on the clock, the referee blew.

The second half started with Wright swinging a cross just out of Hancock's reach, and Ricky Summon's firing a volley wide. At the other end Way was dummied but recovered well to clear.

Oliver was put through but was flagged offside. Ricky Summons then picked up a loose Cromer clearance, delicately chipped to Wright. He slipped it to Marjoribanks who fired over when closed down.

The game was now a scrappy affair and Loddon's defence had to earn their corn. Collins was looking assured after his first-minute knock and handling safely. Exactly midway through the half Cromer sent in a cross from the left which was met sweetly on the volley from 12 yards, but Collins went full stretch to palm it wide. This suggested it was not to be Cromer's day.

Collins then claimed the corner with a smile. Gricks and Andersen combined to find Wright and his cross was deflected just beyond Oliver.

With 15 minutes left Gary Summons came on to replace Gricks for some fresh legs in midfield. Marjoribanks did well to toe the ball to Oliver, but he dwelled on it too long, lost possession and in frustration his slightly late challenge to regain the ball earned him a booking.

Shipley made an interception, found Hancock, but his through ball was just too far ahead of Ricky Summons.

Another beautifully-timed tackle by Andersen on the edge of Loddon's box, great work rate, particularly from fresh legged Gary Summons, and closing down by the front two and the wide players, epitomised Loddon's work ethic and desire to hold onto the three points.

With five minutes left, Oliver was replaced by Rolfe as Loddon left just one up front. Rolfe did exactly what the doctor ordered - sat in front of his back four and gave Cromer even less space to play.

Cromer tried everything, but Way and his defenders were in no mood to let them pass. Loddon did manage one break and corner, but with only three in the box to attack it the ball soon came back. Loddon hung on to claim all three points.

It could have gone to any of the back five, but for great handling and for a top-drawer save at a crucial time, the Musker McIntyre man-of-the-match goes to Robbie Collins.

Loddon United: Collins, Shipley, Way, Baylis, Andersen R, Hancock, Gricks, Summons R, Wright, Oliver, Marjoribanks. Subs: Summons G, Rolfe.