Loddon apply pressure

LODDON notched another three points, beating Watton 2-0, to keep the pressure on the four teams above them in the Anglian Combination Premier Division.

LODDON notched another three points, beating Watton 2-0, to keep the pressure on the four teams above them in the Anglian Combination Premier Division.

This puts them within two points of the top with games in hand. The down side were injuries to club captain Tom Baylis - a broken bone in his foot - and to Chris Hancock with broken fingers. They will both be sorely missed.

Tomorrow, Loddon visit mid-table Beccles Town.

The opening minutes against Watton were rather tame with neither side taking control. After seven minutes a Watton free-kick was punched clear by Collins. Baylis was then caught late for a second time and was left limping.

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Oliver made a neat turn but his shot was blocked before Hancock shot straight at the keeper from a Wright cross. Oliver set up Andersen who crossed to the far post. Marjoribanks outjumped the keeper but could not hit the target.

On 15 minutes Baylis limped off and was replaced by the versatile Battisson.

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Andersen set up Wright who beat his defender but his effort on goal was tame. Hancock then worked the keeper with a header, and he and Gary Summons combined to put in Marjoribanks who was ruled offside.

Battisson made a good tackle and found Oliver, who was unceremoniously dumped, and finally the referee showed a card to the offender.

Battisson intercepted well and found Gary Summons, who was next to be fouled, and again the offender was booked. Neither free-kick threatened the visitors.

On 36 minutes Loddon were gifted the opener. Oliver came deep to win back possession and found Andersen, who chipped into the box. The keeper should have claimed the ball easily but a mix-up with a defender gave opportunist Oliver, who had made up a lot of ground, the chance to nip in and finish the move he started.

The home back line weathered the next couple of minutes as Watton pushed, but Collins was only tested with a 30-yarder straight at him.

Just before the break Andersen sent in a great cross to the far post where Marjoribanks rose majestically, but his powerful header was just over.

A free-kick at the other end was well taken by Collins. Shipley and Gary Summons then found Hancock, who sent in a great cross for Oliver. His header looked to be heading toward the top corner, only to be matched by a good save.

Battisson, attempting to shield the ball out for a goal kick, had his feet kick from under him only to see the referee award a corner which was fortunately cleared. Loddon failed to deal with the next cross when Watton had two attempts and shot wide.

Loddon were looking ragged and losing possession too easily, and 14 minutes into the second half manager Matthews decided to make a change. Shipley was replaced by Dan Andersen with Hancock moving to right-back.

It had an immediate effect. Dan won a throw on the right, Hancock sent it to the near post where Majoribanks headed on.

Wright and Dan Andersen both had close-range efforts blocked. Watton broke through but Collins saved bravely at the forward's feet.

Twenty-five minutes into the half Oliver made way for Brown. Again there was an immediate impact. The best move of the game involving Robin Andersen, Gary Summons, Hancock, Brown and Ricky Summons saw Marjoribanks finish - only to be flagged offside.

At last, Loddon enjoyed some neat passing and movement. Brown crossed for Marjoribanks, the keeper punched clear and Gary Summons volleyed over from 20 yards.

Now Loddon looked much the better side and the most likely to score the next goal.

Ricky Summons showed great control in the middle and urged his side forward. Down the right Hancock was using the space in front of him to much greater effect, and eight minutes from time Dan Andersen took a corner on the right, fired deep. Marjoribanks made space and powerfully headed into the top corner.

Way then set up Ricky Summons for a shot wide, Collins made a great stop. Loddon's right side again worked the ball well, Brown had a shot deflected and Way had an effort cleared off the line to finish a much better second half and secure another big three points.

Musker McIntyre man-of-the-match goes to Ado Battisson for filling the big void left by the injury to Tom Baylis and showing that he hasn't forgotten how to defend.

Loddon United: Collins; Shipley, Way, Baylis, Andersen R; Hancock, Summons G, Summons R, Wright; Oliver, Marjoribanks. Subs: Battisson, Andersen D, Brown.

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