Winchester 2 Didcot 0
2018-02-42 on Sun 11 Feb
Winchester climbed into fourth place and completed the double over a Didcot side who were also in the mix for a playoff place having on Tuesday achieved an excellent home win against Salisbury.
Prior to the game Winchester announced three signings and Adam Brice signed from Gosport Borough was thrust straight into the starting line-up in place of the injured Joe Cook in an otherwise unchanged starting line-up from the previous Saturday's trip to Mangotsfield. The other new signings Joe Sowden and Danny Cox were on the bench.
Early on with persistent rain making conditions difficult Pat Cox forced a save from Didcot goalkeeper Leigh Bedwell, while at the other end George Jeacock hit the outside of the post.
Despite the conditions it was quite an open game and Ryan Pryce in the home goal made good saves from Ollie Thomas and Cameron McNeil.
However Winchester's pace was always a threat and they won a free kick in a dangerous position, but Robbie Carr's kick was narrowly wide. However in the very dying seconds of the half a corner caused consternation in the Winchester defence, first rebounding off the top of the crossbar with the visitors also going close from the follow up.
However the game really came to life in the 48th minute when Winchester's captain Jamie Barron from within the D in the centre circle just inside Didcot's half saw the Didcot goalkeeper off his line and placing his lob to perfection, high enough to beat the goalkeeper, but not too high that it cleared the crossbar. It was a superb strike to give his side an important lead.
Eight minutes later Winchester broke away and the move led to Oli Bailey being fouled in the penalty area. The referee having deemed the foul worthy of a yellow card, but initially went to book the wrong player. However after consulting with both of his linesmen realised that Stuart Cattell who had already been booked was the culprit and Didcot were down to 10 men. However although Bedwell in the Didcot goal got his hands to Barron's spot kick he could not prevent the ball entering the net.
Numbers were evened up when Brice on his debut became the second number 5 in the match to receive a second yellow card. Didcot had still time to get back in the game, but further good goalkeeping by Pryce, some important blocks and shots that were narrowly off target ensured Winchester maintained their lead. They still looked dangerous on the odd occasion with Pat Cox always a threat, but they did not want to take unnecessary risks and bought in their other two new signings in the closing minutes.
After the game Craig Davis said while heaping praise on skipper Jamie Barron for his spectacular goal that "IT was a good battling performance in difficult conditions".
Winchester have away games at Bristol Manor Farm (Saturday) and Bishops Cleeve (Tuesday week) and have been drawn to play at home to Blackfield And Langley in the semi finals of the Hampshire Senior Cup.