After recent drainage problems with their Cabbell Park Cromer were finally able to play their final fixture of the season. The Crabs hosted Loddon knowing that victory would take them back above Acle and secure a second successive title. Cromer were without Dale Wilton and John Curtis due to suspension, so Simon Freemantle came into the side on the right wing.
In front of a good crowd the home side wanted to get an early goal to ease any nerves there might have been. There first opportunity came in the 16th minute when Matthew Eves
ran inside and played the ball to Scott Woodcock who then blasted over the bar.
The hosts once again caused problems to the Loddon defence. David Harwood
cross found Antoni Fawkes whose header was blocked, the ball rebounded to Eves whose effort was scrambled away. Somehow the game was still goalless and was it going to be a long, frustrating evening as the Crabs hunted for the all-important goal.
On 34 minutes Loddon keeper Paul Stebbings was at his best to keep the scores level when he pushed Freemantle’s long range strike onto the bar. Freemantle was then provider when his cross picked out Karl Horton
whose downward header forced a fine save from Stebbings.
Cromer finally took the lead in the 42nd minute. The ball was played into the feet of Eves, who had his back to goal. He then turned smartly and with his quick feet worked himself into some space before slotting the ball past Stebbings.
Before half time the visitors had a chance against the run of play to get the scores level when they were awarded a penalty for handball against Liam Davies
. Gary Summons took responsibility from the spot but he had his spot kick saved by Nathan Pauling
Cromer went in at the break with the lead an they knew that if they kept a clean sheet then the title would be theirs once again. The Crabs dominated the second half and they seemed to be strolling towards victory.
Scott Woodcock’s driven corner went to Paul Bradshaw
who put his header over. There was then some good play down the left wing and the ball came inside to Liam Landamore who then played it to his centre midfield partner Karl Horton
, but he dragged his shot wide.
In the 72nd minute it was 2-0. Woodcock delivered a cross to the back post that was met by Bradshaw who headed home. Moments later they then had a good claim for a penalty turned away after Sam Groves appeared to be tripped in the box.
With seven minutes remaining Cromer grabbed a third to seal the victory that meant they were champions once again. Woodcock gave the ball inside to Eves whose shot come cross found the head of Fawkes who headed past Stebbings.
The final whistle came and the celebrations began as Cromer won the league for the second year running. After the game Anglian Combination Chairman Graham Jubb presented the Crabs with the Sterry Cup. Also after the match the Supporters’ Player of the Year Award was given to Antoni Fawkes.
Cromer team: Pauling, Harwood, Groves, Davies, Bradshaw (Jordan), Landamore, Freemantle, Horton, Woodcock (Farrow), Fawkes, Eves. Sub Not Used: Winterbone.
Loddon team: Stebbings, Anderson, Hancock, Durrant, Baylis, Pasque, Hall, Summons, Ayre, Smith, R. Read. Subs: Weston, Collins, N. Read.