Norton Athletic 0 Southwold Town 1
Southwold edge tight game
Norton welcomed Southwold to The Highfield in what was to be our final action of 2017. Over recent times Southwold have turned out to be a bogey team for Norton and the trend continued with the visitors netting the only goal early in the second half.
Once more player struggles resulted in both Norton teams only naming one sub and this also led to two enforced changes to the line-up with Ben Burcham and Dan Kirk returning in place of Ryan Labrum and Gareth Samuel.
Young Alfie Kelner returned to be the only sub after missing the previous two games.
On a cold but perfect day for football both sides had to encounter the difficult looking surface which had stood up well to the recent weather and the 30 games already played on it this season, but it was bobbly and soft underfoot.
The match started and really was a case of both sides cancelling each other out and very little quality on show from either side.
The first sight at goal came for Norton where Rory Spinks saw his header drift wide of the far upright.
Southwold attacked at the other end and the cross flashed across goal to the far post where the resulting shot was fired wide of the far post.
Southwold probably got ahead in terms of goal threat and tested keeper Adam Robinson who done well to beat away a strike from the angle.
Norton then lost the in-form Danny Hoadley following a head injury and this appeared to reduce Norton’s attacking threat more however in first half stoppage time a flick on by Ben Burcham saw James Hardy fluff his lines and the score remained untroubled at the interval.
During the break I felt that a single goal could win this game and, so it proved but unfortunately it came to the visitors early in the second half following 60 seconds of end to end action. Norton started the second half brightly and on the front foot and James Hardy showed good strength to win possession on the half way line. He then found Dan MacDonald down the right wing and he burst into the box before firing a low cross towards the far post. Alfie Kelner arrived on cue but unfortunately failed to take the opportunity and from this Southwold countered down the left and drew a great save from Adam Robinson however the bell fell towards the far post where the Southwold player reacted first to knock the ball high into the net for the lead.
Southwold should have doubled the lead shortly after as a great cross field ball was played to the right wing and the cross came into the 6-yard box. Mikey and Macca left it for each other allowing the Town player a shot but thankfully this was fired high over the bar.
Norton then upped the play and on 65 minutes nearly levelled as Macca draws the keeper out and the square ball saw Burcham fire over the bar.
Norton continue to press and some good build up play sees Macca find an early shot, but this drifts wide of the far upright.
The play was now all for Norton as the game entered the final minutes and from a corner the ball drops to Archie Crossan, but his goal bound shot sees the keeper stick up an arm to tip the ball over the bar and give Southwold the 3 points.
For Norton we are left to rue another game without scoring and has been a problem more often than not this season so far. We are showing some good play in patches but really have suffered from inconsistency so far.
The Read Bros MoM goes to Archie Crossan.
Norton now break for the Christmas and New Year period and we would like to send our best wishes to all the players, sponsors and supporters for their continued support.