Diddy Progress On Penalties
Didcot Town 0-0 Chesham United - (Didcot win 5-4 on penalties) Report by Ian East
For the 3rd round in succession in the BigFreeBet Southern League Challenge Cup Didcot Town progressed via a penalty shootout following a 0-0 draw with Southern Premier Division Chesham Utd on Tuesday evening at the Loop Meadow Stadium.
Unsurprisingly Didcot made changes following their comfortable 4-0 win over Cirencester Town on Saturday as Matt Woodley replaced Stuart Cattell in the back 4 which meant Cameron McNeil shifted over to centre back, George Jeacock replaced Felipe Barcelos and youngster Henry Horton replaced David Murphy in midfield, there were also 3 of his fellow u18 squad named among the substitutes.
The first half was a fairly cagey affair although Didcot had the better of it, Horton impressing on his debut reacted first to a corner but his shot was saved by the legs of Chesham goalkeeper Hafid Al Droubi. George Reid then cut inside from the right hand side but blazed high and over from the edge of the box.
Didcot were improving and being driven forward by the excellent Sam Elkins the full back took a shot from fully 30 yards which Al Droubi saved comfortably. The best chances of the half came towards the back end of the first 45minutes and both fell to Didcot. Firstly Reid again tested Al Droubi with a left footed drive from just inside the box which the keeper parried, George Jeacock reacted quickest but Al Droubi was up quickly to block the rebound with his legs from close range. Shortly after Sam Barder should have given Didcot the lead when good play by Elkins teed up Barder from around the penalty spot but the midfielder was leaning back and the ball went miles over the bar.
Chesham made a half time substitution bringing on former Oxford United striker Jefferson Louis as they tried to change things and force themselves into the game but the pressing was still being made by the hosts. Jeacock impressing in his first start for over a month was unlucky with a shot that went not too far over the bar before Elkins brought the best out of Al Droubi who made an excellent reaction save from close range to keep the visitors in the contest.
Didcot looked to their bench and introduced another youngster for a debut as Brett Gardner replaced Josh Pin who worryingly limped off with ice to the back of his hamstring. Gardner then nearly put Didcot ahead with his first touch as Jeacock did brilliantly down the right hand side and fizzed a ball across the box and as Gardner slid to try and divert it in it was brilliantly blocked by a Chesham defender. Henry Horton who’d had an excellent debut was then replaced by yet another youngster in Tom Morris in midfield before the equally impressive Jeacock was replaced by Barcelos as Didcot had one last go at winning the tie in 90mins.
Chesham had introduced the vastly experienced Scott McGleish to partner Louis in attack and they were improving and went desperately close on a few occasions no more so when the ball hit the woodwork and bounced on the line and although Chesham appealed for the goal it wasn’t given and with that the tie moved to penalties.
Leigh Bedwell saved the first spot kick low to his right for Didcot and Matt Woodley fired his penalty into the corner to give Didcot the lead. Didcot and Chesham then exchanged successful spot kicks (Didcot scorers were Barder, Reid and Hayden) before Felipe Barcelos stepped up for the last spot kick knowing if he scored then the tie was won and he duly despatched it to send Didcot through to the next round.