Didcot 0-2 OUFC XI
Report by Ian East
Didcot’s pre-season continued today with a visit from Oxford United whose u23 side made the short trip down to the Loop Meadow stadium for today’s game.
Diddy lined up with the usual 3-5-2 formation but as ever with a few changes, Owen Holloway was at right wing back, Callum McNish wasn’t available so Seth Humphries came back in and Josh Pinn started up front alongside Louis Joyce.
It was Didcot who started the better of the sides, with the welcome rain of the last week the pitch was looking in a much better state and Didcot were knocking the ball around nicely. Diddy were dealt an early blow when Stu Cattell was forced to hobble off just feeling a little niggle in his hamstring and Diddy rightly took no chances and player/manager Andy Ballard took Stu’s place as part of the back 3.
Louis Joyce forced a good save from the Oxford ‘keeper with a low shot, then Owen Holloway’s excellent ball in was somehow put wide by Matty Woodley at the back post when he seemed certain to score.
Diddy were made to pay when a long ball forward was seemingly under control by Ballard but James Roberts was able to steel it off him in a dangerous area, he got away from the desperately trying to recover Ballard and slipped it under Leigh Bedwell to give Oxford a lead from their first foray into the Diddy half really.
Didcot responded to the setback well and again went desperately close when a corner was recycled into the box finding Adam Learoyd in acres of space, the centre half brought it down well but snatched at the shot as he waited for the ball to drop down and he prodded the effort from close range over.
Overall though it was another good half of football from Didcot they just weren’t clinical enough in the final 3rd either not making the right pass or when chances fell they didn’t take any.
Into the 2nd half and Diddy made two changes introducing Ollie Thomas for Lewis Hayden who like Cattell had picked up a knock seemingly to his calf and Sam Barder replaced Ballard, the player/manager obviously preferring the dugout!
This meant Holloway dropping into the back 3 and Thomas replacing Hayden in the midfield, Diddy looked a bit confused by it all and before they knew it they were 2 down as a seemingly aimless chipped ball forward found a striker with all the time in the world to score passed Bedwell.
Oxford were growing in confidence and it was only Bedwell that stopped the scoreline from getting out of hand as the goalkeeper made a superb double save to keep Diddy in the contest.
George Jeacock and Ross MacDonald both came on for Diddy replacing Holloway and the tiring Pinn as Diddy again changed shape. It seemed to work slightly better and Jeacock should have added to his 2 goals in the week when an excellent Woodley corner found the head of the Diddy striker who under minimal pressure from no more than 6 yards put a tame header wide.
Humphries had Diddy’s last chance with a shot from outside the box which was comfortably saved as Diddy finished on the back foot as only some desperate last ditch defending and another good save from Bedwell stopped Oxford from adding to their tally.
Very much a game of 2 halves for Diddy, an excellent first half which they were very unfortunate to be behind in but a pretty disappointing second half where Diddy lost control of the game and never really looked like scoring. Also 2 injuries is never a good thing, but both hopefully aren’t too serious, still another useful 90minutes of football for Diddy who are next in action on Saturday 5th August when they are at home to Cwmbran Celtic.
1. Leigh Bedwell
2. Owen Holloway
3. Matty Woodley
4. Cam McNeil
5. Stu Cattell
6. Adam Learoyd ©
7. Lewis Hayden
8. Sam Elkins
9. Louis Joyce
10. Seth Humphries
11. Josh Pinn
12. Ollie Thomas
13. Andy Ballard
14. Sam Barder
15. Ross MacDonald
16. George Jeacock