Loddon match champions-elect
Loddon United 2,Cromer Town 2
LODDON pulled another rabbit out of the hat, thanks to a top-drawer, last-gasp finish from Gary Summons, to earn a point against the Anglian Combination’s champions-elect Cromer Town.
The opening minutes were even, with neither team testing the keeper.
The first chance fell to Summons after being set up by Marjoribanks in the seventh minute. A little side-step and right-foot strike forced a fingertip save from the keeper. Summons then took the corner, which was met at the near post by a thumping header from Hancock, who had made a great run into the six-yard box to put Loddon ahead.
Cromer’s No 6 was allowed too much time and space in midfield, but sliced his shot wide before great play on the left by Robin Andersen and Greenhalf resulted in a cross which just evaded Marjoribanks.
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A loose ball from Dan Andersen gifted Cromer with a break, but Summons got back to concede a corner which Marjoribanks headed clear. Stebbings got his hand to another corner and Cromer headed over from three yards.
The Crabs maybe edged in front in terms of possession, but they found Loddon’s back five resilient, and Stebbings was still not tested.
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On the half-hour, Robin Andersen again delivered a driven cross which was crying out to be met, but no-one gambled. The Cromer keeper then missed his punch from a corner, but Loddon could not capitalise.
Squire cut inside and was just foiled when priming a shot before trying to pick out Marjoribanks, when maybe he could have been greedy.
League leaders Cromer looked much livelier in the second half and Loddon were pushed back.
Squire, as usual, did his share of defending from the front to make Cromer’s life difficult.
Cromer pushed again and seemed to find space and an extra man in midfield.
The right-back crossed and Stebbings smothered, but Cromer picked up the next loose ball. Durrant slipped, Baylis tried to hold up the No 15 – who had caused Loddon problems since the restart – but he toe-poked into the bottom corner to level the scores.
Loddon had a chance when Hancock’s long throw was touched on, but Parkin could not control and the ball trickled through to the Crabs’ keeper.
Baylis conceded a corner. It was swung into the six-yard box and easily volleyed home, unchallenged, from close range to make it 2-1 Cromer.
Loddon could have easily capitulated, but their character has proved strong in the last few weeks.
Greenhalf hit a telling cross into the box, but it beat everyone. Cromer’s possession demonstrated why they are top of the league. However, Loddon did not lie down, and Stebbings was not extended.
Robin Andersen knocked forward, and Marjoribanks pressed the keeper to win a corner, which was wasted. Riches came on for Squire for the last 10 minutes.
With five minutes to go, a spell of Loddon pressure ended when Durrant shot high and wide from 25 yards.
Cromer shot wide and Riches then set up Baylis, sent forward in a last throw of the managerial dice.
But he slipped as he shot over the bar.
In the last minute, Robin Andersen launched an inch-perfect cross to Baylis on the far side of the box.
He delicately set up Summons, who volleyed from the edge of the area into the far top corner to make the final score 2-2.
A great point for Loddon to continue their good run. A great performance from Robin Andersen, but Gary Summons just edged it for Musker McIntyre MoM.
Loddon: Stebbings; Hancock, Baylis, Durrant, Andersen R; Andersen D, Summons G, Parkin M, Greenhalf, Marjoribanks, Squire. Subs: Riches, Sayer.