Dan Archer watched Loughborough get a morale-boosting 1-0 victory over Northumbria last Wednesday and move off the bottom of the table going into the festive period.
The last two fixtures between the teams have ended in 6-0 and 6-1 victories to Loughborough, yet this game was much closer on the scoreboard – ending 1-0 to Loughborough.
Loughborough started really brightly, playing some nice passing football at a high tempo, with Northumbria looking unable to cope. The first chance of note came Loughborough’s way on 16 minutes, when the centre midfielder managed to evade two tackles before firing just over from 20 yards.
Loughborough were getting plenty of joy down the flanks, and this led to the next chance on 21 minutes. A neat interchange down the right allowed a shooting opportunity on the angle, but this was easily saved by the Northumbria goalkeeper.
It seemed only a matter of time before Loughborough opened the deadlock, and it should have happened from either of the two chances in the 27th minute.
Again, the chances came from the right hand side, with the first one being cut back to the centre midfielder, whose shot was well tipped onto the post by the Northumbria keeper. The ball was then recycled to the right again, before the cross found the centre forward at the front post, but he put the ball inexplicably wide with the goal at his mercy.
Despite this massive domination from Loughborough, the score remained 0-0 until half-time.
The second half burst into life after just one minute, when the deadlock was broken. A corner from the left for Loughborough found the centre back who rose highest to beat the keeper with a powerful header from six yards.
The only other genuine chance in the second half fell to Northumbria in the 53rd minute, in controversial circumstances. A free kick was put into the Loughborough box and was easily cleared, but the referee blew for a penalty, much to everyone’s amazement. This was Northumbria’s only chance to score in the game, but the penalty was easily saved by the Loughborough goalkeeper to his left. The poor penalty summed up Northumbria’s afternoon.
Loughborough’s dominance continued to the final whistle, but somehow the score remained at 1-0 until full time. Loughborough, however, will be delighted to have finally got the winning feeling back going into the festive period.