Diddy make the playoffs following home win!
Goals from McNish, Barcelos and Barder seal Diddy's top 6 place
Didcot Town 3-0 Paulton Rovers
Didcot Town ended the regular season in style with a convincing 3-0 home victory over Paulton Rovers which sealed the Railwaymen’s place in the end of season playoffs in the process.
Having faced the prospect of 4 games in 7 days at the start of the week, the Railwaymen had won the previous 2 putting themselves back into the playoff frame and knew a win over struggling Paulton would all but clinch a playoff place barring something ridiculous scoreline wise happening in the game between Shortwood and Cirencester.
Didcot had the luxury of welcoming back both Stuart Cattell and Seth Humphries from injury before the game as well as Sam Barder but all had to settle for places on the bench as Didcot kept faith with the same back 4 that had started the previous two games, there was one change however as George Reid was nursing a slight knock after the North Leigh game on Thursday so there was a slightly unexpected recall for David Murphy in midfield.
The early exchanges were edgy to say the least with neither side settling into the contest as news already was filtering through that teams around the Railwaymen were winning, the only things of note in the game at the Loop were a couple of bookings for Paulton players early and then one for Callum McNish all 3 could be put in the harsh category. Paulton incredibly using their 11th goalkeeper of the season had done well to restrict Didcot to a few corners as they protected their young stand in Andrew Forster very well.
It was Murphy who lit the blue touch paper for Didcot as the midfielder cleverly made space for himself before trying a shot with the outside of his right foot which just went wide as Didcot eventually started to make their possession and territory count.
It was the visitors however who forced the first save from either keeper as a long ball was headed clear to Josh Morgan-Williams who took a touch and volleyed towards goal on the angle from 30 yards, the ball dipped towards the far top corner but Leigh Bedwell was alert to it and managed to smartly turn the ball over.
Home nerves were settled in the 44th minute as just before half time George Jeacock made progress down the right hand side before finding Murphy in the box, he made space for himself and cut the ball back to the onrushing McNish who swept home from around the penalty spot to give Didcot the lead they desperately needed.
Half Time. Didcot 1-0 Paulton
Didcot settled into the 2nd half better and should have gone 2-0 ahead when a fast break away from Morgan Williams produced a chance for Agyakwa at the back post but the Didcot winger put his effort over the bar. Shortly after Didcot looked to their bench making a double change as McNish and Williams were replaced by Reid and Barder.
Barring shots from distance and the odd corner Paulton rarely threatened Didcot’s 1 goal lead but again as news had come in that all the other teams had won Didcot knew one slip up would now be fatal, Ollie Thomas was brought on for Agyakwa after 88mins as Didcot looked to shut up shop.
Paulton were starting to commit more men forward preying on Didcot nerves but it was Murphy who hooked the ball forward from the half way line sending Felipe Barcelos clear, the Didcot top scorer powered towards goal, Forster raced to meet him getting hands to Barcelos attempted shot below him, the ball bouncing towards goal it just about crossed the line before George Reid hooked it in regardless and the game was won.
Almost immediately from the resultant kick off Didcot put a slightly false look about the scoreline as Sam Barder ran clear following a clever back heel by Murphy and then calmly flicked the ball passed Forster for Didcot’s 3rd late on.
The full time whistle went as Didcot celebrated a fantastic season with the playoff place they thoroughly deserved, the Railwaymen now travel to Wimborne Town for the Playoff Semi-Final on Wednesday 2nd May 7:45pm kick off.
Didcot; Bedwell, Jeacock, Woodley, Hayden, McNeill, Learoyd, Agyakwa (Thomas), McNish (Barder), Barcelos, Murphy, Williams (Reid) subs not used Cattell, Humphries, Joyce