Didcot Town 4 Ardley United 1
Tuesday, 20 September 2005
In the corresponding fixture last season Didcot had hammered Ardley United 8-0 and it looked a case of deja-vu when the home side raced into a two goal lead within five minutes.
In the opening attack of the match Patrick Malone won the ball on the left flank and Ian Concannon converted his cross with typical composure at the far post. Within moments Didcot had doubled their advantage. A perfect left foot free-kick from Matty Jack was headed firmly home by defender Dave Green. But there was no chance of history repeating itself as the new look Ardley were always a threat on the break and in John Curtis they have a striker who will cause defenders problems with his height and neat control. It was Curtis who created a glorious opening for Mark Scanes in the 10th minute but the usually dependable striker sliced his effort well over and Didcot had been given a real let off. The home side were still doing most of the running and they had numerous opportunities to extend the lead before half time. Stuart Beavon even had the ball in the net after scoring a seemingly good goal but referee Piggott, not for the only time in the game, ruled it out - a decision that didn?t go down too well with the Didcot supporters. Curtis almost deflected a shot past Webb from close range for the visitors but midway through the half Ardley were fortunate not to concede a penalty when Malone was clearly shoved over in the box as he burst through with only keeper Paul Tassell to beat. Beavon then came agonisingly close when his vicious shot took a slight deflection and bounced off the top of the crossbar and away to safety. Malone then brought a great save out of Tassell and Concannon was denied by a brave block by Jason Allen as he looked set to covert the rebound. A terrific move involving Beavon and Bradley Ward gave Concannon another chance but this time his curling shot missed the far post by inches and with the last action of the opening half Tassell again performed wonders to keep out Concannon?s clever chip.
Half Time: 2-0
Unfortunately for Ardley they were caught on the back foot once more in the first minute of the 2nd half and the game was effectively settled when Beavon capitalised on a defensive slip to prod the ball home under Tassell to put Didcot three up. Curtis almost replied immediately but put his header wide from 10 yards out. Ardley continued to work hard for an opening but they were rather fortunate to get back into the game in the 56th minute. Matt Tarry burst into the box and Webb pulled off a super diving stop to flick the ball away for a throw in. However referee Piggott saw it differently and awarded Ardley a hotly disputed penalty which Chris Johnson confidently thumped home. The goal actually breathed life back into the game and Didcot were spurred onto the offensive. Beavon headed narrowly wide and then Concannon was unable to beat Tassell when put clean-through with 15 minutes left. Substitute Immanuel Wango brought a solid save from Tassell before the home side eventually scored a fourth in the last minute. Wango was again involved as he played a fine ball through to Concannon who this time made no mistake from 12 yards.
Report by Steve Clare