The penultimate game of the season saw second placed Cromer face third placed Blofield. The recent wet weather had caused Cabbell Park to be waterlogged but fortunately the game could be moved to Holt F.C.
The Crabs were able to field the same side that had drawn with Acle in their previous outing. Cromer knew that victory was imperative if they were to remain in the driving seat in the race for the title. The matches against Blofield are very rarely straightforward occasions, but with their title hopes reliant on others slipping up and a Bank Holiday Monday cup final coming up, would their attentions be elsewhere.
Cromer looked to make their mark on the game from the first whistle and had a lot of early possession. David Harwood
delivered a low teasing ball across the box, but no one was able to get that killer touch. Scott Woodcock’s free kick was then blocked and came back to Matthew Eves
who blasted over.
In the 23rd minute the Crabs would take the lead. Antoni Fawkes headed the ball down to Dale Wilton who then took the ball into the box and showed good trickery, forcing a rash tackle from the left back Mills, and the referee had a simple decision to award a penalty. Harwood stepped up and blasted down the middle of the goal.
It continued to be all Cromer. Woodcock made a run down the left and then pulled the ball back across goal and it went to Eves who couldn’t get the desired connection and fluffed his effort from close range.
Three minutes before the break it was 2-0. Eves laid the ball back to Harwood who delivered a first time cross to the back post which found Woodcock who nicked ahead of his marker to finisher via the post.
Blofield did have an opportunity to grab an unlikely goal before half time when Rushbrook rose highest to meet a Morgan cross, but the Blofield defender headed over.
The Crabs deservedly had the lead at the break and more of the same in the second half would see them get the result they wanted. In the first minute of the second half Eves pounced on to a stray pass and went through on goal, but was forced wide by Hemmings in the Blofield goal, and Eves was unable to score from a very tight angle. Eves was again at the centre of the action, this time feeding the ball to Fawkes who then turned and fired wide.
Just before the hour mark another good chance went begging after Woodock had laid the ball to Eves, who had again come in from the left, but Eves blasted over.
The threat then came from the right hand side. Good skill from Wilton, who then gave the ball to Woodock but the Crabs striker was off target with his effort. Left back Sam Groves then found himself in an advanced position and from the edge of the box his strike had Hemmings beaten but the ball came back of the bar.
The result now seemed in very little doubt as Blofield offered very little offensively, and Cromer were still having a majority of the ball even if they weren’t casuing as many problems to the opposition defence.
There was then one moment of controversy when a bad tackle from Matty Banham went unpunished. No attempt was made for the ball and he came in late on Liam Landamore who didn’t take kindly to the dangerous tackle inflicted on him, and was booked for his reaction. But Banham only received a talking to from the referee.
The Crabs put the icing on the cake in time added on. Some patient play around the Blofield box resulted in Wilton playing a clever ball inside for Eves, who had made yet another roaming run. He used his pace to then get to the by line before crossing for Fawkes to finish from close range.
It was job done for Cromer. They had to win the game to put themselves back to the top of the table and each and every player put in a superb performance to ensure they got the right result. A very disciplined, organized display that saw some very good football played. From the outset there looked like there was only going to be one winner, and keeper Nathan Pauling
was practically a spectator throughout.
The reigning champions will be looking to now complete the job when they host Loddon United on Thursday night (k.o.7.30p.m.). Victory will ensure the Sterry Cup remains in their trophy cabinet, however a slip up from Acle on Tuesday night could mean the Crabs are champions without having to kick a ball.
Cromer team: Pauling, Harwood, Groves, Davies, Bradshaw, Landamore, Wilton, Horton, Woodcock (Freemantle), Fawkes, Eves. Subs Not Used: Curtis, Winterbone.
Blofield team: Hemmings, Banham, Mills, Rushbrook, Cox, Basey-Fisher, McKail, Notley, Manning, Holmes, Morgan. Subs: Barnes, Brett, Warman.
Cromer Town Football Club would like to say big thank you to Holt United Football Club for agreeing to host the game, when the decision was made last Thursday that Cabbell Park would not be playable.