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Wimborne Town (PO Semi Final)
Didcot Town
Wed 2 May 19:45 - League Full time

Diddy Defeated In Play Off’s

Wimborne Town 2-0 Didcot Town - Report by Stewart Unsworth

Didcot’s season ended with defeat to Wimborne Town in the semi-finals of the South and West play-offs on Wednesday night. The Dorset side were the better side by a considerable margin in the first half and fully merited their two goal advantage. Diddy fought back in an evenly contested second period where goalscoring chances were spurned left, right and centre by both teams but ultimately the final scoreline accurately reflected the overall balance of play.

The Railwaymen made a sluggish start to the contest and by frequently relinquishing possession to their opponents they were soon on the back foot. Despite their territorial advantage, Wimborne had not tested keeper Leigh Bedwell to any great degree, giving hope to the visiting faithful that Didcot could ride out the storm and settle as the half went on. Those hopes did not last; on twenty-one minutes the Magpies were awarded a direct free-kick a few yards outside the penalty area. Billy Maybury slammed his strike straight into the defensive wall but the ball broke to joint top division goalscorer Tobias Holmes in any amount of space on the left hand side of the penalty area. Holmes has probably not racked up 43 goals in the season by wasting clear-cut opportunities such as this one and he calmly stroked his finish past Bedwell and into the right-hand corner.

Didcot were clearly struggling and Wimborne doubled their advantage less than five minutes later. Cameron McNeill has had an excellent season for the Railwaymen, but on this occasion he was dispossessed by Luke Burbidge when trying to shepherd the ball behind for a goal-kick. Burbidge rolled a cross along the penalty spot where Jack Lovell was waiting to tap home into an unguarded net.

Diddy did provide one attempt of note; Marlon Agyakwa’s cross was met by McNeill but the defender could not keep his header down and it sailed wide of the crossbar.

There was a sense of relief that the Railwaymen had got to the half time break only two goals down but it was the Magpies that started the brighter after the interval, creating several good chances. Bedwell had to be at his best to thwart Burbidge and Luke Holmes while Burbidge also fired off target when well placed.

Didcot had to change the flow of the game and after a double substitution they began to exploit chinks in the Wimborne backline. However home keeper Gerard Benfield was in fine form, firstly parrying a deflected Sam Barder shot clear and then saving Felipe Barcelos’ goalbound header.

Lovell squandered a couple of openings that would have put the game out of reach and Didcot then created a glorious opportunity to halve the deficit. George Reid ran at the Wimborne rearguard before sending in a deflected cross that fell into Barcelos’ path. The Diddy top scorer did extremely well to connect with the ball but having done so he was disappointed to see his shot from six yards fly over the crossbar.

Reid prodded another effort wide but Wimborne regained their composure and were able to see out the final ten minutes with few alarms. The Magpies progress to a home play-off final against Swindon Supermarine while Didcot can reflect on what has been an excellent campaign. Playing well in a BBC-streamed FA Cup tie at big spending Billericay, competing in a league cup final and a marked improvement in the league resulting in a best finish since they were relegated from the Premier division in 2011 all add up to a very successful season.

Didcot: Bedwell; Jeacock (Thomas 83); Woodley; Hayden; McNeill; Learoyd; Agyakwa; McNish; Barcelos; Murphy (Barder 56); Williams (Reid 56).
Subs not used: Humphries; Cattell.

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