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Wednesday 30th October 2013 ko 19.45

FA Youth Cup 1st Round


OXFORD UNITED 3 (Ashby 26 56p McCormack 67)

Att 291

Entry £4

No Programme

Team Sheet FREE

Regular readers of these articles will be aware that the Loop Meadow Stadium is one of my semi-regular haunts. There are no lack of local clubs I could frequent, but Didcot are a friendly bunch, and they seem to be a club that stages a game well. The game was intriguing too, with the club’s respective youth teams facing off for the right to play the winners of Maidstone vs Southend United.

What I hadn’t expected was the size of the crowd, or the demographic of them. Charging £2 to concessions helped attract a huge crowd of sixth-formers, presumably the selling point being to see their classmates against the “Big Boys” from the Football League. It certainly made for a completely different dynamic from normal, as sat in the stand, the players who hadn’t been selected, “Window Shopped” the girls stood below. Although they kept their comments on the right side of good taste, I soon departed in favour of the view from the far side. I really didn’t fit in with the wardrobes of Hipster clothes on display!

Being as I was in Berks and Bucks FA territory, it was inevitable that the North Berkshire League committee were out in force, and it was a pleasure to catch up and for me to smile at what they think is a long way to drive in a league where every club is within 20 miles of Steventon Green! They are of course gentlemen one and all, and I remain honoured to organise their groundhop for them. It does remain my life’s ambition to get Mike Panting to buy me a cup of tea!

Was it predictable that Oxford United would win easily? I suppose so yes, but Didcot made them work for it. Didcot keeper Kieran Beesley was the star turn for the hosts, keeping out the prolific James Roberts, and Greg Hackett (Chris’ cousin, if you didn’t know). It was inevitable that the siege would be broken, and it was Josh Ashby whom showed the forwards what to do, smashing home from 20 yards, giving Beesley no chance.

Didcot fought with every fibre, and held out until the 56th minute, Sam Humphreys was up-ended by Sam Borland on the left of the box, and Ashby made no mistake from the penalty spot. But still Didcot fought on, and even after Cain McCormack nodded home from a corner for 3-0, Matt Woodley’s fierce shot was spectacularly saved by Barney Martin in the Oxford goal.

It was one of those games where both sides could claim something from the game. For Didcot a huge crowd and a decent performance, and for Oxford a pass through to the next round. It was by anyone’s standards, a good evening out.