Loddon need commitment for last three vital games
Spixworth 3, Loddon United 0
Another midweek game after a free Saturday saw Loddon again struggle to get a side together.
It seems that a relegation struggle is just not a good enough reason for some to want to play for the first team on a warm, sunny Tuesday evening.
However, those that did battled bravely but were well beaten by a better side at Spixworth.
Without a recognised striker it was always going to be difficult, and Loddon were left relying heavily on a long ball, hoping for scraps to fall their way. Dan Andersen wriggled his way into a shooting position on five minutes but fired wide.
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Three minutes later, Robin Andersen swung in a free-kick, brother Dan nodded on and Gary Summons hit the bar with an overhead kick.
But it would not have counted – the flag was up.
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Robin Andersen won a series of headers as Spixworth probed down their right, but Loddon were unable to pick up second balls and keep possession.
Bussens chased right across the field to close down a loose striker and help his defence. A good challenge from Ricky Summons in his own six-yard box prevented a free header from a left-wing cross.
Spixworth knocked the ball around sharply, were getting on top, and on 23 minutes made it count.
Loddon’s experienced defenders had chances to clear in a build-up before a cross from the right was tapped home from six yards.
Bussens cut out a pass, Ricky Summons knocked the loose ball back to Bussens, who picked out Dan Andersen – and Gary Summons was only inches away from getting to the cross.
Dan then controlled a long ball from Robin beautifully, but took an extra touch when he should have shot and the chance was lost.
Bussens driven cross was met by Ayre on the stretch, but he could not control his shot. It was a decent little spell for Loddon before a couple of volleys from Spixworth gave them a little reminder.
Gary Summons pulled a shot wide and Stebbings pulled off a great block just before the break to keep Loddon in touch.
Within five minutes of the restart, Stebbings came to the rescue again, tipping over a point-blank volley from a long throw.
Loddon replied when Ayre pressed to retrieve possession and set up Bussens for an off-target strike.
Another decent six-man move saw Ayre reach a Greenhalf cross, only to volley straight at the keeper. Another sharp move by Spixworth ended with a header into the side netting.
Dan Andersen went close with a header and Squire twice covered well as Spixworth broke with pace. Spixworth’s No 6 was then lucky to stay on the field after an incident with Ayre. Both were booked. From the Loddon free-kick, Ricky Summons hit a rusty volley way off target, but as this was his first game of the season he was forgiven.
On 65 minutes Spixworth took a corner on their left and Baylis headed well clear. The home No 5 picked up the ball unchallenged in midfield, fed it to the right and a sweet volley finally beat Stebbings to make it 2-0.
Then Spixworth’s No 15 picked up the ball on the edge of Loddon’s box and, after a couple of step-overs, slipped through helpless defenders to pop in the third, killer, goal.
Gary Summons gave away possession, Stebbings and Squire clearing. Robin Andersen covered the back, and Stebbings made another good save.
Loddon threw Baylis up front, but to no avail. Ayre headed a free-kick over, Dan Andersen scuffed a shot wide, Robin Andersen continued to battle and show his class.
Loddon survived a couple of home efforts and looked tired and weary — but have to lift themselves for the last three critical games if they are going to survive.
Robin Andersen was a quality defender, but Musker McIntyre man-of-the-match was young Ben Bussens who shone in a struggling side and performed with pride and effort.
Loddon: Stebbings, Hancock, Squire, Baylis, Andersen R, Bussens, Summons G, Summons R, Greenhalf, Ayre M, Andersen D. Subs: Creegan, Durrant.