The leagues’ top two sides faced each other in front of a crowd of over 150 under the lights at Cabbell Park. A win for Acle would have seen them open up a gap at the top still with a game in hand, and for Cromer it was pretty much a must win game if they were going to give themselves the best chance possible of retaining their title.
The Crabs made one change to the starting eleven with Matthew Eves
coming in for the injured Craig Terrington. Sam Wenham and John Curtis also returned to the squad after injury lay offs, both taking a place on the bench.
The hosts made their intentions very clear from the outset, not letting any Acle player settle on the ball in any area of the pitch. In possession Cromer were passing the ball about nicely and off the ball players were trying their hardest to win the ball back.
Despite this the first opportunity of the game went the way of the league leaders. Maddison dispossessed Liam Davies
on the half way line and broke forward and squared the ball to Randell whose run had been tracked by Liam Landamore, and the Crabs midfielder made a superb block.
Cromer took a deserved lead in the 25th minute. Dale Wilton got the ball from David Harwood
, who then made an overlapping run, he got the ball back from Wilton and delivered a low cross which was finished by Antoni Fawkes.
The Crabs continued to do everything at a high pace. Eves won back possession and the ball ran to Scott Woodcock who then crossed to Landamore at the back post, but he failed to make the desired connection to test the Acle keeper.
The visitors did have a couple of half chances to grab an equaliser before the break. Hipperson broke forward with great pace and his cross picked out Maddison, but his first time shot was wide. The Foreman over hit free kick from deep forced Nathan Pauling
to have to push the ball over the bar.
Early in the second half more good link up down the Cromer right saw Harwood get the ball from Wilton and then cut inside and his left foot shot from the edge of the box was deflected narrowly wide.
In the 55th minute Hipperson’s pace again allowed him to get into a promising position but he smashed his shot high and wide.
Cromer would then threaten to increase their lead. Wilton turned Daniel Foreman but was denied by Scott Foreman in the Acle goal. On 80 minutes Woodcock delivered a perfect free kick which was met by the head of Wilton, but he put it straight into the hands of Foreman. Then Nobbs’ poor header back fell kindly for Curtis whose first time strike went just wide.
In time added on Acle’s misery was completed when they had substitute Ross Goodwin sent off after he picked up his second yellow card.
These three points took Cromer back to the top of the table, three points clear of Acle who still have a game in hand. The Crabs were certainly deserving of their win. They started superbly and seemed to have more desire in all areas of the pitch, although the second half was more even the home side were good value for all three points. Cromer will be looking to take similar performances into their remaining games as they look to regain their Sterry Cup title.
Cromer team: Pauling, Harwood, Groves, Davies, Bradshaw, Landamore, Wilton, Horton, Woodcock, Fawkes, Eves (Curtis). Subs Not Used: Winterbone, Wenham.
Acle team: S. Foreman, Nobbs, D. Foreman, Oldham, Hill, Palmer, Randell, Goreham, Maddison, Morgan, Hipperson. Subs: Goodwin, Colk, Faulkes.