Diddy Progress With Hard Fought Win
Report by Ian East
Didcot Town booked their place in Monday’s draw for the first qualifying round of the FA Cup with a hard fought 2-1 victory at Hellenic league side Flackwell Heath on Saturday.
The story of the game was very much a case of 2 halves to steal the world’s oldest cliché as Flackwell had the better of the first half but it was Didcot who dominated the 2nd and managed to get the win.
Didcot unchanged for the 3rd game in a row following Tuesday night’s 4-2 win over Wimbrone nearly made a disastrous start when a firm pass back to Stuart Cattell was miss-controlled by the centre back, the Flackwell Heath striker took it off him and ran in on goal unopposed but Leigh Bedwell raced from his goal and made an excellent save with his legs.
The home side didn’t have to wait long though when in the 11th minute more slack play this time by Sam Elkins as the midfielder was tackled trying to beat his man near the half way line, Flackwell striker Jamie Essex picked up the through ball and this time when faced with Bedwell the striker planted his shot into the top corner.
Diddy’s only threat was coming down the right hand side from George Jeacock and it was the winger’s cross that found Louis Joyce 6 yards out, the striker rose and headed towards goal but his header was pushed over the bar well by home goalkeeper David Lyons.
Didcot equalised slightly against the run of play when Jeacock again beat the full back he cut back onto his left foot and crossed low into the box, it bobbled to Callum McNish who controlled it nicely then swivelled and volleyed it neatly into the bottom corner.
Into the 2nd half and whatever was said at half time worked as Didcot looked a lot sharper, the passing more purposeful and the chances readily coming.
McNish nearly got his second when Matty Woodley found the midfielder in the box but Lyons was on hand literally to stick out a right hand and block McNish’s effort from close range, it was an excellent save.
Didcot took the lead in the 70th minute when Woodley fizzed a dangerous cross along the 6 yard box, Lyons dived across but couldn’t get there, Joyce met it at the back post on the stretch and blasted it into the net off the crossbar from a narrow angle to open his account for the season. Both Joyce and Reid had worked tirelessly all afternoon for little reward and Joyce in particular deserved his goal.
McNish was the one real outstanding performer on the field, dominating the midfield with eye catching close control and taking the sting out of the game for Didcot. He was desperately unlucky not to add to his tally when a typical powerful run opened up some space on the edge of the box, he let fly with a fierce drive which Lyons may have got a touch to but it crashed off the post and away.
Flackwell’s chances were limited and you could see the hosts visibly tire as Didcot’s improved second half was enough to see them through to the next round. Sam Barder and Lewis Hayden wre both introduced for Reid and Humphries and Hayden nearly added to the goal tally in the dying seconds when he beat a couple of players in the corner again but Lyons saved his cross-shot with his legs. The final minutes were played out with Didcot keeping possession nicely in the Flackwell Heath half and the final whistle was blown on a very hard earned victory against a good Hellenic league side who will no doubt do well in their division this season.
Didcot will take an interest in Monday’s draw to find out our next opponents before we start the bank holiday fixtures away to Cirencester on Saturday before we host neighbours Kidlington on Monday 28th.