Citizens Derail Railwaymen
Winchester City 2-0 Didcot Town - Report by Ian East
Didcot Town’s playoff hopes took a slight bump in the road on Saturday as they fell to a harsh 2-0 defeat at fellow playoff chasers Winchester City.
The Railwaymen made 2 changes to their starting XI to the one that beat Salisbury on the previous Tuesday evening one of them enforced as captain Adam Learoyd started his 3 match ban which meant there was a recall for Matt Woodley whereas the other change came in midfield as Ollie Thomas replaced David Murphy. It meant Cameron McNeill shifted over from full back to partner Stuart Cattell at centre back and Sam Elkins captained the side in Learoyd’s absence.
The opening attempt of the game was from the hosts as Leigh Bedwell had to turn away a low shot from 25 yards. On a day with persistent rain falling and a fairly strong wind it was certainly a day for trying to test the keepers early and Bedwell did well to get good hands to the shot at the expense of an early corner.
After this attempt the first half was dominated by the visitors, George Jeacock getting the first sight of goal for Diddy but from a narrow angle he chose to shoot rather than the better option of crossing towards Barcelos or Barder and his shot hit only the side netting.
Stuart Cattell then went into the book for a poor and needless challenge on the half way line which was to come back and haunt the Didcot defender later on before Ollie Thomas tested home ‘keeper Ryan Pryce with a stinging shot from the edge of the area which Pryce saved well to his left, the ball falling to Jeacock whose cross was blocked possibly by an arm of a sliding Winchester defender but although Didcot appealed for the penalty it would have been beyond harsh.
Didcot then really should have taken the lead when after a defender slipped Barcelos raced clear, from a wide position he squared it perfectly for the onrushing Lewis Hayden who with a free shot from just inside the box completely miscued it wide. Then from an Agyakwa corner the ball was half cleared to Matt Woodley who fired the ball back towards goal where Cam McNeill helped it on towards goal from close range, it looked certain to find the net until Pryce somehow clawed the ball out with a brilliant reaction save to keep his side level.
Just before half time Didcot had 2 more chances to score, firstly from another Agyakwa corner Cattell headed the ball against the cross bar and as it fell to Barcelos no more than 2 yards out the striker just couldn’t jump high enough to get over the ball and it hit the top of his head and looped over the bar.
Half time. Winchester 0-0 Didcot
Didcot’s inability to put one of their numerous first half chances away came back to haunt them big time in the second half as Leigh Bedwell cleared the ball downfield a small game of head tennis developed on the half way line before it was passed to Winchester captain Jamie Barron who saw Bedwell off his line and with a brilliant piece of quick thinking and opportunism struck the ball from just inside Didcot’s half, it sailed over Bedwell’s despairing dive and into the top corner for an excellent goal completely out of nothing.
Sam Barder was then sent clear for Didcot but Pryce was out to meet him quickly, Barder’s shot lacked any power and Pryce was able to smother as Didcot wasted another big chance in the game.
The Railwaymen had to respond but the game was about to get dramatically taken away from them in 5minutes, firstly a nice move down the right hand side saw Elkins find Barcelos inside the box, the Didcot striker looked to find the perfect shooting opportunity and as he did he was seemingly
bundled over from behind for what looked a clear penalty, the referee waved it away and the triple whammy for Didcot was as Winchester broke away suddenly Pat Cox found himself clear and as Cattell made a desperate last ditch challenge he only succeeded in bringing the striker down and the referee awarded the penalty. What followed was farcical as the referee spent the next 2 minutes running around the field trying to find someone to consult, he even went over to his assistant who was in the other half of the field at one point. It looked like he’d lost sight of who committed the foul and after talking to Elkins and then McNeill by hook or by crook he finally correctly settled on Cattell who received his 2nd yellow card and resultant red card.
Barron stepped up for the spot kick and despite Bedwell guessing correctly he couldn’t keep the ball out and Didcot now had a mountain to climb at 2-0.
It didn’t take long however for Didcot to be given a slight lifeline when Adam Brice was dismissed for the hosts for a foul on Jeacock on the right flank, Brice pulled Jeacock to the floor and he received his 2nd yellow card of the day and the game was to finish 10 v 10. Didcot introduced Josh Pin for Barder and it was Pin who should have brought Didcot back in it when he dribbled his way superbly into the box from the right hand side and as the goal opened up with just Pryce to beat from 10 yards Pin blazed his left foot shot way over the bar.
Almost immediately Didcot wasted yet another chance when Jeacock fizzed the ball across goal it missed everyone in the box and fell to Matt Woodley on his own at the back post but on his weaker right side he could only drag his shot into the side netting.
It was one of those days for Didcot it was just not going to go in for them as Pryce again saved well to his left to keep out a Barcelos header before the same man fizzed a low shot wide late on as the game slipped away.
The full time whistle went on a big win for the home side and a disappointing result for the visitors. Didcot will look back on what could and should have been from this game in terms of the amount of chances created but their inability to take any of them cost them the points.
Next up is another top of the table clash with 5th placed Evesham United at the Loop Meadow Stadium on Saturday.