Didcot Town 1 - 2 Winchester City
City gained revenge for a crushing home defeat by Didcot Town by beating the 'Diddy' on their own ground, Loop Meadow, on Saturday 13th February 2016. This was a great battling win against a good side. City had to overcome a heavy pitch, a send off and some very erratic decisions by the Referee to gain the three points.
Winchester dominated the first quarter of an hour with Jamie Barron setting up Warren Bentley but his shot was well saved. Bentley put in in penetrating run but his pass was intercepted. Gradually, however, Didcot began to put on the pressure.
Jack Self almost gave them the lead when his header was denied by a great stop by Brendan Norris. The Winchester 'keeper came to the rescue again a few minutes later when a corner was headed deep into the penalty area and he managed to grab it in the melee.
City survived a penalty appeal when Josh Dutton-Black appeared to have been fouled but the Referee waved 'play on'.
The Citizens hit back and Matt Benham set up a chance for Zac Glasspool but he shot straight at the 'keeper for an easy save. He created a similar chance for Bentley but his shot was wide. The best chance of the match at this period fell to Bentley when he went on a run from a free kick but lobbed just wide.
Both sides were unsettled by the Refreee's decisions and in the 43rd minute matters boiled over in a mass confrontation when the Didcot 'keeper claimed to have been kicked by a City player. He retaliated by kicking out and them throwing the ball in Glasspool's face. The Referee gave him a straight red and then also sent City's Rob Flooks. From my viewpoint in the stand he appeared to have sent the wrong City player off!
Didcot Town did not have a replacement goalkeeper on the bench and replaced him with their centre forward Mark Janes. This was to have consequences in the second half as they lacked punch up front.
Early in the second half Glasspool got the ball in the net but was ruled offside. The break came in the 49th minute when Bentley angled a shot from outside the penalty area, the ball hit the inside of the far post, leaving the 'keeper no chance as it flashed by him into the near post corner of the net.
It looked as if City were going two-up when Glasspool chested the ball down to Bentley but his shot was saved. Manager Paul Masters gave Tazz Roberts a break replacing him with Jamie Thoroughgood.
As time ticked away to game was constantly interrupted by the Refree's strange decisions , one of which resulted in Didcot's equaliser in the 73rd minute. They were awarded a 'questionable free kick' (their own words) which Matt Woodley curled past Norris.
Glasspool was replaced by Craig Feeney in the 75th minute and he almost scored with his first kick but his shot was cleared off the line.
In the 88th minute Didcot failed to clear a corner and Benham was the first to react and slammed the ball home through a forest of legs.
In the 90th minute Benham was replaced by Charlie Smeeton but still the game played on, due mainly to the Referee's constant stops for lectures to players and consultation with his Assistants.
Deep into added time George Reid broke through but Norris made a fabulous one-handed save from close range to secure the points for City.
When the referee finally blew for time my stop watch showed it to be the 98th minute!
City: Brendan Norris, Jake Newton, Danny King, Jamie Barron, Leigh Mills, Rob Flooks, Adam Roberts, Micky Hubbard, Zach Glasspool, Warren Bentley, Matt Benham, Dominic Cope, Jamie Thoroughgood, Charlie Smeeton, Craig Feeney.