Didcot Move Into Top 6
Report by Stewart Unsworth
Didcot vaulted into the top six with a vital away win at local rivals North Leigh at Eynsham Park on Thursday night. Apart from the odd scare, the Railwaymen dominated the game throughout, the only concern for the Diddy supporter being the amount of chances they spurned before notching the decisive second goal.
Playing up the slope in the first half, the Railwaymen would possibly have targeted a first half lead that they could build on in the second half when playing downhill. A goal within the first five minutes was therefore the perfect tonic. Felipe Barcelos has been invaluable for Diddy since his signing from Cirencester in October and by pouncing on a careless back-pass he was able to round stranded keeper Ross Grimshaw and stroke the ball into an empty net for goal number 23 of the season.
Callum McNish then had a goalbound shot smothered and Adam Learoyd headed inches wide from the resulting corner but the Millers were having moments of pressure too; none more so than when George Seacole drew a point blank save from keeper Leigh Bedwell. The rebound could have fallen anywhere but thankfully George Jeacock was on hand to boot the ball to safety.
McNish had a couple more half chances before the break that he could not convert but Didcot ended the half strongly and began the second period in the same vein. Grimshaw firstly denied George Reid and then more spectacularly turned aside a Jeacock thunderbolt that seemed destined for the top corner. Morgan Williams also fired in a cross that hit Reid on the back as he was facing the other way, but the ball clipped the inside of a post before being hacked clear.
Chances continued to go begging for Didcot but just as their faithful were beginning to consider the horror scenario of a glut of misses being punished with a North Leigh equaliser, the second goal did come and from an unlikely source. A corner was headed back into the danger zone by Learoyd and during the goalmouth melee a Barcelos touch teed up stand-in centre back Cameron McNeill who found himself in unknown territory around the penalty spot. However, the young defender did not baulk at the opportunity, smashing the ball past a number of defenders and into the net.
The goal killed the game as a contest and the Railwaymen were able to see out the remainder of the match with few alarms. Unless Diddy are the victim of an unlikely set of results that would include Cirencester running up a cricket score at Shortwood, victory against Paulton Rovers on Saturday would secure a play-off place and in all probability an away tie in the semi-finals.
Didcot: Bedwell; Jeacock; Woodley; Hayden (Doyle 83); McNeill; Learoyd; Reid; McNish; Barcelos (Joyce 78); Agyakwa; Williams (Thomas 71).
Subs not used: Murphy; Ballard.