Loddon United leapfrogged Brandon to get off the bottom of Anglian Combination Premier Division table with a 3-2 win over defending champions Blofield, who they also host tomorrow (2pm).
Blofield United 2, Loddon United 3
Loddon set the pace from the start, competed and got their passing game back on track.
On five minutes a neat move involving Hancock, Summons and Dan Andersen found Marjoribanks. He found Hancock again, who chipped to Summons on the edge of the box. He controlled on his chest and, although harried by two defenders sent a volley over the stranded keeper.
Loddon continued to press and force errors with some tidy passes. When Blofield got past a tight Loddon defence, Robinson was sharp.
The quality of Loddon’s play and tenacity of their closing surprised the Beavers whose game never came together. Baylis and Durrant were composed, and Parkin was the lynchpin in centre midfield.
When a Loddon attack broke down, Blofield countered down their left, but Greenhalf read the danger and slid in to cover the cross in the six-yard box. Robinson pulled off a great stop from the corner.
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Loddon had more chances before Blofield broke. McKail’s shot was charged down but it fell to Basey-Fisher who tapped home.
Blofield’s relief lasted just two minutes. After a slick move broke down, Sadler delivered a perfect pass to Dan Andersen whose inch-perfect curling cross was met by Squire with a thumping header for 2-1 to Loddon.
Three minutes later the home crowd were stunned into silence. Dan Andersen won an aerial challenge, Squire pinched possession, held off the challenge and calmly slotted home his second and Loddon’s third.
Sadler took a knock and had to be replaced by Chris Andersen, who went to right back. Brother Dan went to left midfield and Hancock to right midfield. The changes were seamless.
Dan Andersen had a golden chance for a fourth but fired over after good work from Summons and Squire.
Blofield looked rather more up for the challenge second half. Although Loddon created a half-chance when Marjoribanks volleyed over, a Blofield overlap down the left saw Hart’s perfect cross converted at the far post by Brown to put the Beavers very much back in it.
Blofield fired a clear chance over from six yards and Summons shot straight to the keeper after good pressure again from Squire.
Dan Andersen almost blew it for Loddon. He lost possession in his own half, Blofield got into the box and forced Robinson into an incredible double save. The second he palmed onto the bar before he and Chris Andersen flung themselves at a further shot. Both needed treatment.
But it showed the fantastic commitment. It was all hands to the pump as Blofield piled on the pressure.
Dan Andersen, suffering cramp, was replaced by Gunton, and Loddon played five across the back. With Marjoribanks dropping into midfield alongside Parkin it became a tough wall for Blofield to try and break down. Baylis and Durrant conceded nothing as Blofield ran out of ideas.
Squire, who had given his all, had to be replaced by Riches and received warm applause from both sets of supporters.
Late claims for a Loddon penalty for hand-ball were denied but it mattered not as Loddon hung on.
It was almost impossible to pick out any individual from a team that performed superbly as a unit. But as it cannot be given to the whole team, the Musker McIntyre MoM went to Robinson for his treble save – plus others – when the score was 3-2.
Loddon: Robinson A, Hancock, Baylis, Durrant, Greenhalf, Andersen D, Summons G, Parkin M, Sadler, Marjoribanks, Squire. Subs: Andersen C, Riches, Gunton.