Biddy Down Diddy
Report by Ian East
Didcot Town opened up their 2017/18 season with their longest trip of the season on Saturday as we made the 362 mile round trip to North Devon to face Bideford.
Preparations were less than ideal for the Railwaymen as heavy August on a Saturday traffic on the M5 meant the 3 hour journey in fact took 4 and a half hours and we arrived shortly before 2:30pm at Bideford’s Sports Ground.
Thankfully the kick off was put back 15 minutes to give us at least a 45 minute warm up time, even so these less than ideal preparations didn’t seem to derail the Railwaymen as we made an excellent start to the game. The first 20minutes was all Didcot as Sam Elkins and in particular Seth Humphries pulled the strings in midfield, wing backs George Jeacock and Matty Woodley were finding ample space and delivering some decent balls in which were just evading Diddy forwards. It was a theme that was to continue. The closest Didcot got was when the ever industrious George Reid unleashed a superb left foot shot from fully 25 yards but home goalkeeper Steve Oliver produced a smart save high to his left to keep it out.
The hosts in fairness grew into the game after this and finished the half really strongly, Leigh BEdwell in the Didcot goal was superb all afternoon and made a stunning save to keep the Railwaymen level at the break. A dangerous ball in from the left hand side found the head of giant Bideford striker Kevin Squire and with the striker seemingly certain to score BEdwell produced a stunning point balnk save to get Diddy into the break at 0-0.
Into the second half and Diddy made the worst possible start as Bideford counter attacked down the Diddy left, Cam McNeil went across to meet the onrushing winger but he was late with the challenge, a clear foul and the referee pointed straight to the spot. The impressive Billy Tucker stepped up and sent Bedwell the wrong way to give the hosts the lead.
Diddy tried to respond but they were indebted to Bedwell again who made his 2nd excellent save low down to his right to keep out Squire again. Then the big talking point of the game as Diddy attacked down the left George Reid surged clear of the defenders and when on the edge of the Bideford box was sythed down by Craig Allen for an absolutely clear foul. Reid was injured and it seemingly looked like at first the referee pointed to the spot but even more incredibly he was pointing for a goal kick. Even Bideford players couldn’t believe the decision they had got away with, while it may have been outside the box it could well have been a red card as well as a dangerous free kick. It was a harsh one for Diddy to take.
Diddy’s really big chance came when the excellent Jeacock burst passed the Bideford left back and squared the ball seemingly perfectly for Reid but it seemed to take a nick off a defender and Reid ended up swinging and missing.
The game was slipping away but even so again Bedwell came to the rescue to keep Diddy’s slim hope alive when as Diddy pushed forward a long ball left Tucker one on one with Stuart Cattell, the winger beat the defender but Bedwell smothered his shot superbly. It really was a case of 3 superb stops from the Diddy ‘keeper.
Diddy’s final chance came and went as a really excellent team move involving Callum McNish, Elkins and substitute Sam Barder freed Jeacock but the wingers’ cross shot drifted wide and Diddy were forced to make the long trip home ultimately pointless but having contributed fully to a very competitive close game of football.
Diddy will be disappointed they couldn’t find the final pass or the final piece of quality to unlock the Bideford door but should also take heart in the performance which was full of commitment and endeavour right to the final whistle. Diddy also don’t have to wait too long for a chance to get their first points of the new season when Wimborne Town make the journey up from Dorset to the Loop Meadow stadium on Tuesday night.
1. Leigh Bedwell
2. George Jeacock
3. Cam McNeil
4. Sam Elkins
5. Stuart Cattell
6. Adam Learoyd ©
7. Seth Humphries (Barder)
8. Callum McNish
9. George Reid (Hayden)
10. Louis Joyce
11. Matty Woodley
12. Ollie Thomas
14. Lewis Hayden
15. Sam Barder
16. Owen Holloway
17. Andy Ballard