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First Team - Match centre

Didcot Town
Oxford City
Tue 18 Jul 19:45 - Friendly Full time

Didcot 2-1 Oxford City

Report by Ian East

Didcot’s early impressive pre-season form continued on Tuesday night as goals from Ross MacDonald and Lewis Hayden secured an excellent victory over National League South side Oxford City.

Didcot made a few changes from Saturday with Owen Holloway moving to right wing back meaning Sam Elkins started in central midfield, Seth Humphries was moved to a more familiar central midfield position with George Jeacock starting up front with Louis Joyce and there was a start for Cam McNeil as part of the back 3 in place of youngster Callum Young.

Whilst the game started with another competitive feel to it chances were pretty sparse early on, the best of which falling to our visitors when a back pass to Leigh Bedwell forced the goalkeeper into a rushed clearance which he completely miskicked straight to Ezra Forde but the City winger with the goal at his mercy could only tamely put the ball into the side netting.

Other than this Didcot’s new look defence was coping pretty well with their higher ranked opponents, Cattell, Learoyd and McNeil in particular all having solid games and looking like a good trio, McNeil adding a nice bit of pace to the backline and sweeping up well on occasions. Then the one thing you don’t want in pre-season, an injury to Louis Joyce. The striker having sustained a knock to his ankle and was removed as a precaution more than anything with Ross MacDonald replacing him. With George Reid still not yet available it looked as though Didcot’s attacking threat may be limited but no hint of it as the substitute gave Didcot the lead with pretty much the home side’s first attempt on goal.

Matty Woodley made progress down the left and his sublime left footed cross evaded City defenders and landed perfectly onto the head of MacDonald who steered the ball excellently into the bottom corner beyond Craig Hill in the City goal. A real striker’s goal and one MacDonald had deserved. His tireless and energetic performance on Saturday was being matched again as he stakes his claim for a place in Andy Ballard’s first team squad.

Into the 2nd half and with both teams surprisingly unchanged weather conditions were starting to change and as the heavens began to open with thunderstorms afoot Didcot made a lightning start to the second half when the again impressive duo of Seth Humphries and Lewis Hayden combined as Humphries played the perfect reverse ball behind the defence to free Hayden who with the angles narrowing hit a high left footed shot above Hill’s right hand and into the top corner to give Diddy a 2-0 lead.

As the weather conditions worsened both teams started to ring the changes, again Didcot bringing on a number of their younger players who all acquitted themselves very well against a good opposition. The home side’s attacks were becoming less frequent and City were to their credit trying to get back into the game without really creating many clear cut chances.

They did however set up a nervy finish with 5minutes to go when former Banbury player Zac McEachran struck a low left footed shot which looked destined for Bedwell’s gloves but the ball struck the desperately unlucky Joel Thompson who had slid in trying to block the shot and the ball looped beyond the helpless Bedwell to give City a lifeline.

However the Didcot ‘keeper was to have the final say in the game as City broke away down Diddy’s left the ball being squared perfectly to the onrushing striker who when seemingly certain to score was brilliantly denied by Bedwell from close range, as Diddy struggled to clear their lines a foul was committed right on the edge of the box. A free kick and probably the last kick, Freddie Grant took it left footed, bent it expertly around the wall but again found Bedwell springing to his right and superbly clawing the ball out of the top corner and out for a corner. Somehow still time for the corner to be taken but following a tame shot Bedwell dived on the loose ball and that was it an excellent victory for the home side and more importantly 2 very encouraging performances for the management team of this young but very talented Didcot squad.

Didcot’s next pre-season action is on Saturday as we make the trip to Fleet Town followed by another away game to local rivals Milton United on the following Tuesday night.

Didcot XI
1. Leigh Bedwell
2. Owen Holloway
3. Matty Woodley
4. Cam McNeil
5. Stuart Cattell
6. Adam Learoyd ©
7. Lewis Hayden
8. Sam Elkins
9. Louis Joyce
10. George Jeacock
11. Seth Humphries

12. Taylor Janes
13. Ash Stevens (unused)
14. Aaron Davies
15. Joel Thompson
16. Caelen Isaac
17. Ross MacDonald
18. Andy Ballard (unused)
19. Callum Young
20. Ross Tanner

Team selection

Team selection has not been published for this fixture yet.

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