Bristol Manor Farm 3-3 Didcot
Report by Ian East
Didcot Town managed to come back from 2 goals down in the game twice on Saturday to earn the point they at least deserved away at high flying Bristol Manor Farm.
Following Wednesday night’s cup win at Kidlington, Didcot kept the majority of the starting XI from that game with only Cameron McNeill starting in place of Matt Woodley. This meant a first league start for 17 year old defender Callum Young having impressed earlier in the week.
Despite having lost their last 2 league games Didcot started brightly but their unhelpful habit of conceding a goal within the first 10 minutes of games was to strike again when an incisive BMF breakaway down the Didcot right hand side led to the ball being squared to the league’s top scorer Dean Stamp whose shot was blocked but it fell perfectly to Kyle Holly who couldn’t miss from inside the 6 yard box and Didcot were behind early on yet again.
The Didcot response to this setback however was excellent and Felipe Barcelos nearly levelled the scores when he got on the end of a good cross, his contact wasn’t the best but it still beat home ‘keeper Ashley Clark but unfortunately for Didcot the ball hit the outside of the post and went wide. Shortly after the other goalpost was to come to BMF’s rescue when a superb free kick from Seth Humphries found the head of Sam Elkins but the defender’s header thudded into the post with Clark beaten for a 2nd time.
Humphries then put a free kick inches wide of the post with Clark rooted to the spot as Didcot continued to dominate proceedings and then typically of late they found themselves 2 down when another quick break by the hosts saw Stamp race clear, Leigh Bedwell came out to meet him but the striker got away from the Didcot ‘keeper and from the narrowest of angles he brilliantly hooked the ball into the far corner of the net and BMF somehow had a 2-0 lead.
Still Didcot pressed on and more good play from the outstanding Humphries and this time George Jeacock saw Barcelos have another big opportunity to score but Clark got just enough on it to divert the ball wide as Didcot frustrations grew.
Half time BMF 2-0 Didcot
Into the 2nd half and the game continued in a similar vein as Didcot controlled the majority of possession and for those of a Didcot persuasion it was good to see the team still believed the game wasn’t over. Now playing down the significant slope Didcot got given a lifeline when a cross wasn’t cleared well by the BMF defence and as the ball looped up Barcelos tried a speculative overhead kick just inside the box, he was closed down by a defender but with his hands raised the ball hit his hands and the referee pointed to the spot. Barcelos stepped up and sent Clark the wrong way and Didcot had a lifeline.
Barcelos could have levelled the game shortly after when he was sent clear by a clever ball by Humphries and as Clark raced from his goal Barcelos fired the ball underneath him but agonisingly the ball went millimetres wide of the far post.
Didcot then looked to their bench to try and salvage the game as Josh Pin replaced McNeill for a more attacking threat but disaster seemingly struck when with BMF’s first attack of the half a ball from the Didcot right was headed in from close range by the impressive Stamp for 3-1 and seemingly game over.
But Didcot to their credit kept on going, George Reid and Marlon Agyakwa were introduced for Louis Joyce and Michael Alexis and the former was to have a big impact in the final 20minutes. Pin made progress down the left hand side and his forward ball towards Reid looked slightly over hit, to his credit Reid never gave it up and got there ahead of a fully committed defender who in trying to clear it succeeded only in kicking the back of Reid’s ankles and it was another clear penalty given to Didcot. Barcelos again stepped up going the same way Clark this time got a piece of it but not enough to stop it and it was now 3-2.
Didcot got their deserved equaliser when on 83minutes Sam Elkins met Reid’s corner and this time planted his header high into the roof of the net despite Clark again getting something on it and the game was back in the balance.
Both teams had chances to win it, BMF breaking clear and as Stamp closed in on goal the outcome seemed inevitable but Bedwell made a superb save to turn the ball aside and out for a corner. Didcot cleared it and Reid was sent clear, he got away from Clark who stumbled as he tried to get back towards his goal, Reid hooked it towards goal but it was neither here or there and no Didcot player could turn the ball home.
The final whistle went on a pulsating game which was also met with mixed emotions from the Didcot bench and players, pleased with fighting back twice against a team going very well in the division but ultimately on the balance of play and chances created a missed opportunity to get the 3 points Didcot ultimately deserved from this game.
Didcot are next in action on Saturday as Barnstaple Town are the visitors to the Loop Meadow Stadium.