Anglian Combination: Cromer Town 5 Hempnall 3
Cromer Town 5 Hempnall 3
Cromer's first game of 2012 saw them entertain Hempnall. After three weeks without a game it was always going to be a tough one as players looked to regain some fitness lost over the festive period.
The teams' causes weren't helped by a strong wind that was going from one end of the pitch to the other.
An early chance went the way of the hosts when Scott Woodcock picked out Antoni Fawkes who beat the goalkeeper to the ball and it dropped to Matthew Eves who miss hit his shot and the Hempnall keeper was able to gather.
There was then a long stoppage due to an injury to Hempnall keeper Aaron Bunn. As a result he was forced to leave the field and Paul Hunter donned the gloves for the visitors.
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In the first bit of pressure applied to the stand-in keeper Paul Bradshaw headed over from a corner.
The away side then took control and made the most of the wind behind their backs, taking the lead in the 23rd minute. Didwell was allowed to pick up the ball in space and turn.He spread the play wide to Crytal who then delivered a good cross that picked out Haynes to head home.
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Hempnall continued to control the game and went 2-0 up when l Bradshaw's headed clearance hit the back of Didwell and dropped perfectly for the Hempnall striker who finished from 10 yards.
Slightly against the run of play Hempnall made it 3-0 thanks to free- kick on the edge of the box which Haynes fired passed the poorly positioned wall and beyond Bird.
Following the early stoppage ethere were eight minutes of added time and the Crabs were able to pull a goal back when Horton's corner found Wilton in the six yard box and the Cromer winger volleyed home from close range.
Cromer needed to up their game in the second half and make the most of having the wind behind them. They did start the half looking much sharper and more threatening. Bradshaw's early free-kick deflected wide and then Sam Wenham picked out Fawkes who headed wide.
On the hour mark David Harwood picked out the forward run of Eves who with his pace was through on goal but he scuffed his shot wide. Woodcock was then off target with his strike before the home side grabbed a second on 65 minutes. Eves cut inside and then found the bottom corner from the edge of the box with the aid of a slight deflection.
Moments later the scores were level when the corner found Eves at the near post who lifted the ball to the centre for Wilton to nod home from close range.
In the final 20 minutes Cromer grab bed two more goals, and it could have been more, to secure what turned out to be a comfortable victory. The Crabs took the lead on 70 minutes when Woodcock kept possession of the around the Hempnall box and worked a yard for himself before unleashing a fierce left foot strike into the top right corner.
Harwood saw his glancing header cleared off the line before Cromer made it 5-3 in the 85th minute. Josh Farrow chased down a loose ball before squaring to Wilton who had a simple tap-in to complete his hat-trick.
After a very disappointing first half performance Cromer certainly upped their game in the second half and with some quick passing football, plus the wind at their backs, they made it a very difficult second half for Hempnall and in the end there was going to be only one winner.
Cromer team: Bird, Harwood, Wenham, Bradshaw, Jordan, Landamore, Wilton, Horton (Davies), Woodcock (Winterbone), Fawkes (Farrow), Eves.
With Mattishall being held to a draw Cromer go into Saturday's game at home to Wymondham (2.30pm) two points clear at the top of the table.Richard Cox