Didcot 4-2 Larkhall
Report by Stewart Unsworth
Saturday’s defeat to Salisbury left Didcot’s play-off hopes hanging by a thread but victory against Larkhall at the Loop Meadow on Tuesday night coupled with favourable results elsewhere improved their chances considerably. The Railwaymen were the better side in this encounter, but it was only in the last twenty minutes did they make their supremacy tell.
Diddy settled slightly quicker than their Bath opponents in changeable weather conditions but a Seth Humphries shot that pulled wide of the post was the only notable effort before the hosts achieved their desire of scoring the first goal of the game. Felipe Barcelos played in Marlon Agyakwa and the former Oxford City Nomads man found space in the penalty area before firing past keeper Shaun Semmens.
Didcot supporters would have hoped that the lead would have enabled their team to establish a platform but instead it sparked a period of frantic activity with two more goals following in quick succession. The Larks briefly levelled after Cameron McNeill sliced a clearance into his own net via the underside of the crossbar but the Railwaymen restored their lead when Lewis Hayden notched his first goal of the season by playing a slick one-two with Barcelos and finishing coolly past Semmens.
Humphries failed to reappear for the second half after a late challenge caused an ankle injury and Larkhall rubbed further salt into the wound by equalising for the second time nine minutes after the restart. Sam Barder lost possession in midfield and Alex Lambert was quick to capitalise, unleashing a 25 yard strike that rocketed into the top corner.
Morgan Williams and Barcelos both went close as Didcot pushed for the vital third goal and with seventeen minutes to go, the latter calmed the nerves by crashing in his 21st league goal of the season. A perfect run evaded the offside trap and the finish was fantastic, walloped past Semmens from fifteen yards despite pressure from Larkhall defenders.
21 league goals for the Brazilian-born frontman became 22 and the three points secured for Didcot in the 86th minute. Barcelos seized on an Agyakwa through-ball, outstripped the Larkhall backline again, rounded Semmens and rolled in the finish.
The night belonged to Didcot, particularly after news filtered through that Bideford and Bristol Manor Farm had both lost. Unless Cirencester run up a seven goal plus margin of victory at Shortwood on Saturday, victories against both North Leigh and Paulton will definitely secure a play-off berth. The next match is at Eynsham Park on Thursday evening.
Didcot: Bedwell; Jeacock; Woodley; Hayden; McNeill; Learoyd; Agyakwa; McNish; Barcelos (Joyce 89); Humphries (Barder 45); Williams (Reid 70).
Subs not used: Thomas; Ballard.