AFC Totton 2-1 Didcot
Report by Ian East
Didcot Town’s hope of extending their league winning run to 5 ended abruptly after a frustrating defeat at AFC Totton on Saturday.
Didcot still without the injured Callum McNish, Sam Barder, Michael Alexis and Sam Parish unsurprisingly kept the same 11 that had won at Larkhall Athletic Wednesday, Didcot were able to welcome back Seth Humphries to the squad who was added to the Didcot bench.
On a pleasant October’s day Didcot started the game ok trying to establish their passing game and trying to get the two wingers involved early on. Marlon Agyakwa looking ot build on his man of the match display at Larkhall was fouled early on and despite Matt Woodley delivering a superb ball in no one could get a touch on it and it drifted out of play.
Almost immediately at the other end Totton were to go ahead, sloppy defending from Didcot allowed Toby Adekunle to collect the ball on the edge of the box, Cameron McNeill charged across from left back to try and block the wingers shot but he only succeeded in clattering into the Totton player for a blatant free kick from just under 25 yards. Tony Lee stepped up and whipped it over the wall and into the top corner for an excellent goal for the hosts.
Didcot had a similar chance moments later when George Reid was brought down on the edge of the box as the striker tried to manoeuvre a shooting opportunity. Woodley looked favourite for it but it was Reid who took it himself only for Totton ‘keeper Shane Murphy to push it aside well.
As we’ve seen at times this season when Didcot concede it’s often in clusters and the 2nd goal followed minutes later when an aimless clearance evaded both Stuart Cattell who was clearly already struggling with injury and McNeill and it found it’s way to a Totton player whose cross in was partially dealt with by Leigh Bedwell but the ball was loose in the Didcot box and fell to Alfy Whittingham who scuffed it in from 6 yards out and once again Didcot had a 2-0 deficit to try and overcome.
In all honesty the home side could and should have been out of sight as an out of sorts Didcot defence yet again failed to deal with a straight aimless boot up field, instead Craig Feeney was able to collect the ball 20 yards with his back to goal, turn under no pressure and with the goal at his mercy put the ball wide of the post.
Half time couldn’t come quick enough for Didcot who desperately needed the break to try and sort out their wounded defence and try to get a foothold in the game.
Into the second half and Didcot immediately had to make a change with Cattell unable to continue he was replaced by Humphries which meant a re-jig for a few players with McNeill partnering Learoyd and Woodley going to left back to allow Humphries to play in midfield.
What Didcot were desperate for was an early goal and they got it from in-form striker Felipe Barcelos when Agyakwa’s brilliant chipped ball through found Barcelos who got just enough on his shot to beat Murphy who got a hand to it but the ball rolled in and Didcot had a lifeline.
From there on in it was all Didcot but without ever really creating the one big chance to equalise, Humphries put an excellent ball in that Barcelos just couldn’t quite divert on target, Woodley did
the same from numerous corners and one superb cross in particular that no one from a Didcot point of view could get something on. By now into the second half Totton’s gamesmanship was starting to take its toll on Didcot’s patience as every free kick, goal kick and throw in was taking an age, subs were being made with players leaving the field at a snail’s pace or when Didcot eventually did get a ball to take a throw in (when it wasn’t being put into the stand by the Totton bench) another one would mysteriously find its way onto the pitch. It threatened to boil over when Adam Learoyd clashed with Tony Lee in the Didcot half, both were booked for their part in it. Lee was then lucky to stay on the pitch when he was late on Bedwell for the 2nd time in the game but the referee chose not to act.
Didcot’s final chance was in stoppage time when Lewis Hayden made progress down the left, feeding the ball to Woodley who found Humphries just inside the Totton box but the midfielder planted his shot over the bar instead of the top corner.
The final whistle went on a hugely frustrating afternoon, a very poor first half in which Didcot had gifted the opposition who had played well to their credit another 2-0 lead almost redeemed by a much better second half but ultimately Didcot can’t keep starting games at 2-0 down and won’t be able to do that next Saturday when top of the table Taunton Town visit the Loop Meadow Stadium.