A Wim Away
Wimborne Town 0-1 Didcot Town - Report by Ian East
Didcot Town bounced back from last week’s disappointment with a brilliant team performance to pick up an impressive victory and record a league double at high flying Wimborne Town yesterday.
The hosts came into the game on the back of an impressive run of unbeaten form which had taken the Magpies up to 3rd in the table whereas Didcot came into this game in patchy form and on the back of their worst result of the season having lost at lowly Mangotsfield last week. Didcot were forced into 3 changes from the team that started in Bristol last week with George Jeacock starting his 3 game suspension, fellow defender Cameron McNeill and midfielder Lewis Hayden were also unavailable to manager Andy Ballard who shuffled his pack by moving Sam Elkins to his more familiar right back position, Matt Woodley replaced McNeill at left back, Ollie Thomas stepped into a patched up midfield which also included David Murphy and Seth Humphries and there was a welcome return at centre back for Stuart Cattell.
Despite the relative fortunes of both sides of late it was Didcot who started on the front foot immediately trying to get wingers George Reid and Marlon Agyakwa into the action and both having early success. Reid in particular caught the eye early on and having collected the ball on the right hand side he cut inside onto his left foot and shot low towards goal which home goalkeeper Gerard Benfield did well to get down to and turn the shot behind the post for a corner. From this corner Didcot opened the scoring in the 9th minute.
Reid trotted across and took it, hanging the cross towards the back post where skipper Adam Learoyd shook off his marker and thumped a firm header beyond Benfield and a desperate defender on the goal line to give Didcot an early lead. Didcot then should have been given the opportunity to go 2 up when sloppy play from the hosts gifted Didcot possession on the edge of the Wimborne box, Reid was fed the ball in behind the defence and as he chased it down and turned back towards goal a Wimborne defender was fully committed to the recovery challenge, Reid cleverly flicked it beyond him and the defender clattered into Reid’s ankles for the clearest foul and penalty you will ever see or hear!! Somehow the only 2 people in the county of Dorset who didn’t see this were the referee and the linesman who from 5 yards away clearly didn’t have a great view of it…..a truly embarrassing decision.
Wimborne having been given a massive lifeline then started to impose themselves on the game and should have levelled when a good move down the Didcot right saw the ball crossed to Luke Burbidge but the forward skewed his shot wide of the target with just Bedwell to beat.
Again Didcot responded well and thought they had a second goal when Elkins again intercepted some slack Wimborne passing and fed the ball to Agyakwa who neatly flicked the ball around the corner of Sam Davidson and as Agyakwa turned to get on the end of his own through ball Elkins who had charged forward was slightly ahead of Agyakwa and took the ball on drilling it first time beyond Benfield and in off the post but the same linesman who couldn’t see or hear Reid get clattered managed to see the cigarette paper between Elkins and the backline and gave the offside to more Didcot dismay.
Adam Learoyd then snuffed out a Wimborne attack and gave the ball to Woodley who thumped the ball downfield, Scott Arnold running back towards his own goal then miscontrolled the bouncing ball
and stumbled as Barcelos hunted him down, just as Barcelos had nicked it in front of him and was charging down towards Benfield for the one on one opportunity the referee AGAIN came to Wimborne’s aid giving them the most ridiculous of soft free kicks for a foul against Barcelos.
The game then got littered with niggly fouls from both sides as Didcot were understandably starting to lose patience with the incompetence being shown from the officials but thankfully half time shortly came to calm any tempers.
Into the 2nd half and again it was Didcot who started the better of the sides with Reid again forcing Benfield into a low save with a low snap shot from the edge of the box. Barcelos then got his first sight of goal after Agyakwa did well on the left hand side, Barcelos took over and ran across the 18 yard box , the chance opened up for Didcot’s top scorer but he didn’t know how much time he had and rushed the strike when slightly off balance and the ball blazed over.
After this attack Wimborne then took over, dominating possession but Didcot’s defence superbly marshalled by Learoyd and the returning Cattell were heading anything away, clearing their lines well. Woodley and Elkins too were performing admirably at full back to stop the supply line as Wimborne were limited to very few opportunities despite the amount of play they were having. Didcot were forced into a sub when Humphries was injured having been on the receiving end of a strong challenge as Sam Barder stepped in for him. Barder, Thomas and Murphy who had run their socks off were now sitting in front of the back 4 as Didcot went into survival mode.
The hosts big chance came from a clever move down the right hand side and a 1-2 took Woodley and Learoyd out of the game allowing Burbidge another opportunity but Bedwell raced from his goal and saved with his legs, the ball rebounded at pace towards Toby Holmes who from no further than 8 yards out with the goal at his mercy couldn’t sort his feet out in time and his effort went way over the bar. Other than one other shot from 25 yards which Bedwell caught Didcot did a superb job of protecting their goalkeeper as Cattell and Learoyd continued their imperious displays.
Didcot introduced Josh Pin for the tiring Barcelos and the excellent Agyakwa was replaced late on by Andy Ballard who then went in to form a back 8 for Didcot who continued to repel any hopeful Wimborne attacks and as the final whistle blew Didcot celebrated a really hard earned and resolute victory which seemed unlikely at 2:55pm overcoming some key absences, a high on confidence and strong opponent as well as some of the most diabolical officiating seen all season so far to record a priceless 3 points.
The Christmas period now starts for Didcot next Saturday when Bideford make the long journey to the Loop Meadow Stadium for a 3pm kick off before Didcot travel to Kidlington on Boxing Day.