The Crabs played host to St. Andrews this past weekend. This was the second attempt at playing this game after the original fixture was abandoned due to floodlight failure. There was one change to the side that beat North Walsham in their previous outing. Craig Terrington came in at left back for Sam Groves.
From the first whistle the hosts threatened to take the lead with early successive corners. The first saw Terrington’s in swinging delivery find the head of Antoni Fawkes whose effort was kept out by the hand of Attoe in the St. Andrews goal. Captain Liam Davies
then put his header wide.
In the 7th minute the visitors had their first effort when the ball came to Balls who fired narrowly wide from 25 yards.
Cromer continued to be the side that had more of the ball and again created chances. Terrington found Fawkes again and he was again denied thanks to a fine save from Attoe. The young Saints keeper was keeping his team in the game and once again he was called into action. David Harwood
played the ball into the feet of Matthew Eves
who then ran across the edge of the box and fired towards the top corner only to see Attoe reach and push the ball over the bar.
The Crabs would live to regret their missed opportunities and St. Andrews took the lead in the 34th minute. Some sharp passing ended with Bartram getting the ball, he was then allowed to run in on goal with ease, the defenders seemingly scared to tackle, and he coolly finished passed Pauling.
It would again be Cromer who looked like scoring when Karl Horton
and Liam Landamore linked up before giving the ball to Eves who forced yet another safe from Attoe.
In the 40th minute the visitors grabbed their second in a controversial moment. Danny Pennell played the ball forward, but his teammate, Taylor, was in an offside position and Pennell ended up running onto his own forward pass. He then closed in on Nathan Pauling
and squared the ball to Taylor for the simplest tap in, but there was a question of whether Taylor was again in an offside position when the ball was played across. Anyway the goal stood and the Crabs now had a mountain to climb.
The home side had the worst possible start to the second half. Almost straight from kick off a harmless ball was played in behind the Cromer defence, but Terrington got his attempted clearance horribly wrong and saw the ball loop over Pauling into the goal.
The comeback was now even tougher but they got a good start to it in the 49th minute. Harwood’s free kick from just inside the Saints half sailed straight into the net, as Attoe seemed to flap at the ball under pressure. It would now be all Cromer and they continued to pose a similar threat to that of periods of the first half, but this time they had to take their chances if they were going to come away with anything.
Dale Wilton made a pacy run at the defence and played it across to Landamore whose goal bound effort took a slight deflection wide. From the resulting corner Paul Bradshaw
headed over. In the 70th minute Horton played a one two with Fawkes, but the Crabs midfielder fired wide. Horton was again involved, but was again off target this time blasting over.
Cromer were now completely dominating and would surely score again before the final whistle. Terrington delivered the ball to Landamore who made a good first touch before striking the ball beyond Attoe, but it came back off the upright.
With only five minutes of normal time remaining the Crabs still found themselves trailing 3-1. They grabbed their second when Terrington’s corner dropped in the 6 yard box and finished by Davies. Then in the 5th minute of added time they got an equalizer. Once again the visitors couldn’t deal with the corner, and after a scramble at the back post the ball found its way into the goal, with the final touch coming from Wilton.
The North Norfolk side would come away with a point. Looking at the chances they had it should have been a very comfortable win, but were left to rue all those wasted opportunities. They have been knocked off top spot and have lost any slight advantage they may have had, but with more performances like that of the second half they should have no problem getting back to winning ways
Cromer team: Pauling, Harwood, Terrington, Davies, Bradshaw, Landamore, Wilton, Horton, Woodcock, Fawkes, Eves (Farrow). Subs Not Used: Winterbone, Groves
St. Andrews team: Attoe, Abrahams, Barraclough, Ingham, Cuffley, Kennedy, Bartram, Balls, Mason, Pennell, Taylor. Subs: Pilgrim, Lowe, Townshend.