John Evans mixed his side up and gave some of his squad players 90 minutes at Meadowbank on Tuesday evening in the League Cup tie. Didcot went through after an extremely entertaining game and John Evans commented: “I certainly don’t regret mixing the squad up tonight – a couple of the lads desperately needed a rest! Didcot were the better side overall and deserved their win! Man of the match for me was James Coates”
Wood started the brighter of the two sides but fell behind to a bolt from the blue when Osbourne-Ricketts unleashed a tremendous strike into the top corner from 30 yards after 11 minutes. Haddock should have equalised after 15 minutes when John Cant’s low cross set him up but he fired wide from 8 yards. Wood did level after 22 minutes in controversial fashion. Town keeper Pereira had dealt comfortably with a cross and tossed the ball in the air to kick the ball downfield. Haddock, who was next to him, nodded the ball sideways and side footed the ball into the empty net. After a long discussion between the referee and his assistant the goal was given – much to the consternation of the Didcot outfit.
Gullick and Langworthy then seemed to impede each other as they tried to get on the end of a Cant cross and Shortwood had a real escape when a Williams header was blocked on the line and only desperate defending kept out the rebound. Although Tustain hit a crisp shot narrowly over Didcot looked the better side for the remainder of the half.
Gullick had an early header saved by Pereira after the restart but Didcot regained their ascendency and it was no surprise when they retook the lead after 55 minutes. Osbourne-Ricketts unleashed another drive that crashed against the bar but Williams mopped up the rebound. Tom King made two excellent saves to deny Heapy as Didcot pressed for a third but Wood started to exert some pressure of their own and Langworthy was unfortunate to see his header rebound off the bar. Bevan came on for Langworthy with 11 minutes to go and within seconds raced on to a Gullick flick only to be tripped 20 yards out by Carnell – who was shown an immediate red card. Tustain stepped up and his drive was deflected off the wall and in for Shortwood’s equaliser.
With time ticking away a terrific tackle denied Heapy as he was about to shoot and when the resultant corner came over it was missed by everyone at the near post and hit Rutter on the back of the head and flew past the surprised King for a bizarre own goal.
Team: King, Rutter, Brown (Bennett 74), Benneyworth, Axton, Coates, Langworthy (Bevan 79), Haddock, Tustain, Gullick, Cant