Didcot Town 2-1 Cambridge City
Railwaymen return to winning ways
The Railwaymen returned to winning ways on Saturday after hard fought and controversial 2-1 victory over Cambridge City at the Loop.
Manager Andy Ballard made 5 changes to the side that lost at North Leigh on Bank Holiday Monday with Aaron Woodley making his home debut in attack, Ryan Markham returned to the starting XI and there were also starts for Morgan Williams, Brett Gardner and Michael Alexis.
Despite the changes Didcot again fell behind early on when after 8 minutes Leigh Bedwell’s goal kick was headed back from where it came and City striker James Hall was able to latch onto the loose ball, he took aim with his left foot and drilled the ball into the bottom corner giving Bedwell no chance and Didcot an early kick in the teeth.
Didcot were struggling to impose themselves on the game, looking untidy in possession and slow to move the ball and in fact it was the visitors who should have gone two up as they broke away down the Didcot right hand side, the ball was squared to Hall but he blazed over from no more than 10 yards with just Bedwell to beat. It was a big miss for Cambridge as the game was about to dramatically change.
A long ball forward wasn’t dealt with by the City defence and as goalkeeper Liam Gooch got involved there was a mixup between ‘keeper and defender as Gooch booted the ball into his centre back the ball rebounded to Morgan Williams who was about to score into an open goal when Gooch turned and in a moment of panic rugby style tackled Williams to the ground just outside the area. The referee took his time but produced the inevitable red card for Gooch which meant City had to play the remaining hour with 10 men and no specialist goalkeeper. Goalscorer Hall was sacrificed for another defender as centre back Joe Robinson donned the gloves for the remainder.
Robinson was barely tested however as Didcot still struggled to create anything of note, the closest the Railwaymen came in a poor half was a from a driving run by Sam Barder, his shot from distance going just wide.
Half time. Didcot 0-1 Cambridge City
The second half continued in much the same theme as the first as Didcot now having plenty of the ball were struggling to break down the stubborn visitors and it was in fact City who should have scored next when another dangerous ball in was headed over from close range.
City were made to pay for their 2 big missed chances as Sam Barder put a dangerous free kick to the back post where Adam Learoyd superbly put the ball back across goal to Aaron Woodley who couldn’t miss from a yard out to level the scores. It was Woodley’s last action as he was replaced by Ballard himself.
The game was then getting niggly as Cambridge feeling hard done by were starting to waste time and over-react to some Didcot challenges succeeded in getting McNish and Ballard booked for slightly late tackles, they were to feel even more hard done by on 83 minutes as Didcot were presented their chance to win the game.
From another set piece City just about cleared their lines but as Ballard looked to hook the ball back towards goal it was blocked by a City defender’s hand and the referee in perfect position awarded a penalty. City were upset about the fact their defender was so close to ball at the moment it was struck towards him but with his arm up it gave the referee a decision to make and he awarded it in Didcot’s favour. Morgan Williams stepped up and placed his spot kick perfectly into the corner of the net and Didcot had an unlikely lead.
Cambridge to their credit kept going in an even contest despite them having 10 men for so long and very nearly equalised late on, as the clock ticked into stoppage time winger Olukanmi weaved his way beyond 2 Didcot defenders and placed an effort towards the far post beyond Bedwell’s full stretch dive but luckily for Didcot it went narrowly passed the post.
The full time whistle went shortly after to give Didcot a priceless 3 points and a much needed confidence boost ahead of Tuesday night’s important FA Cup replay away at Aylesbury.
Markham (L Williams)
M Woodley (McNeill)
A Woodley (Ballard)
Subs not used : Cattell, Hayden