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Loddon show true grit

PUBLISHED: 10:03 18 December 2009 | UPDATED: 09:01 01 August 2010

St Andrews 0, Loddon United 1

IN some respects this was Loddon's best performance of the season. Not in terms of open attacking football, but in the way they showed grit, determination and a disciplined team ethic to hold onto a first-minute lead.

St Andrews 0, Loddon United 1

IN some respects this was Loddon's best performance of the season. Not in terms of open attacking football, but in the way they showed grit, determination and a disciplined team ethic to hold onto a first-minute lead.

They will need to be on their toes tomorrow when, holding fifth place in the Anglian Combination Premier Division, they visit leaders North Walsham who are six points better off from the same number of games.

St Andrews will feel hard done by having enjoyed much more possession and territorial advantage in the second half, but they failed to test Loddon's keeper Young whose job was made easy by the resilience and quality of those in front of him.

Loddon got the best possible start. Robin Andersen put in a free-kick which was cleared. Ricky Summons did well to regain possession and find Greenhalf. He played a measured ball to Wise in the left channel, his cross found Ricky Summons on the edge of the area whose sliced shot found Marjoribanks on the six-yard box. He had no time to set himself but, falling back, managed to get enough on the ball to cleverly divert it past the surprised home keeper.

St Andrews responded with some neat attacking play, especially down their right, but only found dead ends in the form of Loddon's two banks of four always well positioned.

They were restricted to a couple of off-target efforts and a high ball which Young safely touched over.

For Loddon, Ricky Summons, Marjoribanks, Wise, Greenhalf and Gary Summons all found themselves in good positions without testing the keeper.

A great double win in midfield by Gary Summons put Wise away. He lost and regained possession before finding Greenhalf whose cross was edged wide for a corner.

The corner was touched on and looked over the line. Saints looked anxious but there were no serious appeals for the goal before Marjoribanks hit a stray shot from the clearance. Dan Andersen put Wise away, he was pulled back, but not for the first time, the ref gave him nothing except a good talking to for complaining. The half ended in feisty fashion with Loddon on top.

The second half started in the same energetic manner. Saints then had a long spell of domination with only a corner to show in reply for Loddon.

Loddon would not break. Twice Hancock was beaten, but twice he recovered to make superb tackles and regain possession. Everything Saints threw into the box was cleared by Squire and Durrant, and Ricky Summons seemed to be everywhere.

With 15 minutes left Chris Andersen replaced Dan, and Knights came on for Wise, who had run himself into the ground. The next Saints' corner was blocked by Squire and then a brave lunge by Greenhalf saw him take a shot full in the face. This pretty much epitomised the Loddon resistance.

With only a couple of minutes left, Knights' closing down forced an

error, Gary Summons got a vital return touch but Knights blasted wide as the keeper closed. Loddon saw out the last seconds and the final whistle signalled relieved delight from the Loddon staff and followers.

Everyone was a contender, especially Richie Greenhalf in the first half and Ricky Summons in the second. But for his selfless running, solid defensive work, and that vital first-minute goal the Musker McIntyre MoM goes to James Marjoribanks.

Team: Young, Hancock, Squire, Durrant, Andersen R, Andersen D, Summons G, Summons R, Greenhalf, Marjoribanks, Wise. Subs: Knights, Andersen C, Creegan.

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