Loddon rise from bottom of table and win cup tie

Kirkley and Pakefield Reserves 3, Loddon Utd 3

LODDON’S starting line-up was unchanged for the third game in a row and they were high on confidence following their 3-0 win over Caister.

An entertaining game to watch from two good footballing sides and a well-deserved point to lift Loddon off the foot of the table.

Although a lively Kirkley scored inside two minutes and missed a sitter on 10 minutes, Loddon showed great character to hit back after 20. Robin Andersen was the provider after beating two, receiving a neat return ball from Wise, he squaring to Burke who scored with the help of a deflection.

Within five minutes Kirkley restored their lead with a drive from distance which Robinson could do nothing about.

Loddon had a good spell at the start of the second half but could not turn it into goals. They paid dearly when what looked like a lost cause down the right was crossed from the bye line and converted close in for 3–1.

Kirkley then upped their tempo and kept possession well. Loddon looked unlikely to get back in it until the last 15 minutes. A great ball in by Robin Andersen saw Summons go close. Wise had a shot just wide when maybe a square ball to Brown would have been a better choice.

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But it all inspired Loddon to seek something out of the game. More pressing from the forwards exploited some casual home defending; Hancock took a throw looking for Summons between two defenders, a slight push and the referee pointed to the spot; a lifeline which was converted with confidence by Brown.

Loddon really went for it in the last five minutes. Wise, who was a thorn in Kirkley’s side all night, hassled and fought for the ball as if his life depended on it, won it and found Brown and Summons crossed to the far post where Dan Andersen’s shot was blocked.

Summons pressed again, found Hancock who sent in a long looping cross to the far post where Dan Andersen’s diving header sent Loddon into raptures.

Good performances again in every department, Robinson handled well but Musker McIntyre man of the match goes to Brown, who although needlessly booked, showed calmness in converting the penalty and selfless running and chasing for the team cause.

Loddon Utd 3, Caister 0

Loddon’s recent string of results made this Norfolk Senior Cup tie against high-flying Division One Caister look like a potential banana skin. Far from it – Loddon played some neat, attacking football carrying on from their first-half display in the previous game against St Johns.

Brown and Dan Andersen both had shots and in the fifth minutes, before a Brown corner was met by Matt Ayre whose sweet first-time strike bulged the net. Loddon nearly added a second, minutes later. A superb move involving Summons, Chris Andersen, Brown and Wise just failed to be converted by Greenhalf who made a great run into the box.

On ten minutes, Caister had the ball in the net only to hear that the referee had blown up for hand-ball by Squire. Robinson guessed right and dived right to the foot of the post to save the penalty brilliantly.

That boosted confidence further. Wise hit two efforts wide, Caister’s number 11 was wide in reply before a delightful move on the right, started by Squire, through Summons, Chris Andersen and Brown, finally found Dan Andersen who skipped past his full-back, fired the ball against a post, Greenhalf following up from close range for a great team goal.

Summons went close to converting a corner, Ayre cleared danger at the back before Wise again missed the target. Loddon seemed to ease up and allow Caister more possession, but the final ball from the visitors rarely threatened.

More good play down Loddon’s right gave Brown the chance to fire wide. Half-chances came and went on both sides before the break.

Loddon had another bit of luck straight from the kick-off. A shot from all of 35 yards took Robinson by surprise, it looped over his head, came off the bar and the follow-up effort was sliced wide.

To be fair to Robinson, he may well have touched it onto the bar. Burke picked up the ball in midfield, found Brown; he spread wide to Dan Andersen who drove across the face but no one could get a telling touch. But the very next attack was started by Chris Andersen, it came off a defender to Burke who beat two, squared to Wise who pulled his shot but Chris Andersen had carried on his run into the box and able to finish for 3–0 inside 50 minutes.

Caister had good possession as Loddon took their foot off the pedal. Summons got back to make a great tackle in the six-yard box, and Ayre threw himself at the ball to block a shot; both epitomised the attitude and will to win being showed by Loddon.

Burke, who is improving every week, was replaced by Hancock. Wise met a Robin Andersen cross but headed to the keeper. Robinson handled the next threat tidily after casual defending and had Caister’s final ball been better they could well have scored.

As it was, Loddon still created several chances, the best falling to Summons with a near post header and Robinson pulled off a great point- blank save from Caister’s centre-forward to preserve his clean sheet. Brown was even seen chasing and tackling back in the 92nd minute, a rare event indeed.

A comfortable win with a little luck earned by hard work and commitment. There were many candidates, but skipper Gary Summons stood out with one of his best performances in a Loddon shirt and gets Musker McIntyre man of the match.

Loddon: Robinson, Andersen C, Ayre M, Squire, Andersen R, Andersen D, Summons G, Burke, Greenhalf, Brown, Wise. Subs: Hancock, Sayer, Marjoribanks.