Date: Mon 30 Oct 2023

Colin Chamberlain


Saturday 28 October 2023, 3pm – Southern League Premier South

Venue: Christchurch Homes Loop Meadow Stadium Attendance: 275

Didcot Town: Leigh Bedwell, Murphy Bennett, Josh Grant, Oliver Case, Harley Giles ©, Luke Carnell, Ben Putland, Jenson Wright (Seth Humphries 82), Robbie Gallagher, Dani Lucas (Owen Smith 71), Patrick Osborne (Andi Noka 82). Unused subs : Tim Mungall, Andre Broomfield Bookings: Luke Carnell, Harley Giles

Sholing: Ryan Gosney, Jake Flannigan (Dan Miller 82), Marv McLean (Lloyd Isgrove 59), Karlos Gregory, Owen Roundell, Keane Anderson (Charlie Wagstaffe 71), Byron Mason ©, Charlie Davis, Dan Mason, Jake Cope, Brad Targett. Unused sub : Adam Payce Bookings: Karlos Gregory, Charlie Wagstaffe
Man of the Match: Brad Targett

Charlie Davis hit a worldly of a free kick as the Boatmen made it two wins in a week for new boss, Paul Doswell. Team News: Rob Flooks pulled up just before the match, so Byron Mason came in for his 699th appearance despite not being fully fit. Otherwise, it was an unchanged line-up from Tuesday, but Wags returned from suspension for a place on the bench. The home side had drafted in several new signings following a heavy defeat in midweek and also had to make a late change in goal. It was a controlled start by Sholing, forcing a couple of early corners that caused some problems for the home team. Didcot had a couple of opportunities around the 15 min mark, a low shot went a yard wide, before an opening ended with an effort well over the bar. Boatmen were having repeated success down the right flank through Flannigan & Targett, with Brad cutting into the box several times, one concluding with a save by the keeper at the near post, who managed to grab the rebound as D-Dan was about to pounce. Was more of the same for most of the first half, getting into good positions on the flanks, but just missing that final ball and bit of composure in the box. Jake Cope was lively taking on the backpedalling defence and got off an angled shot that was well saved. Marv sent the Didcot right back for a hotdog as he became another victim of the legend's skill at sucking in challenges and then leaving them for dead. Brad had another decent opportunity, but was denied by a tip round the post by Bedwell. Twice in quick succession, Jake Cope was in space on the left, the second time a great pass by Keane Anderson to put him away, but Copey was again denied by a good save. Probably our best chance of the first half, yet again, came from good link up play down the right and Brad Targett smashing a shot at the near post that the keeper could only deflect back to Brad, who set the ball for Dan Mason and we expected the net to bulge, but rarely for D-Dan, he put the ball wide.

On 49 mins, Dan Mason muscled past his marker and into the area, but the referee had pulled the play back for a free kick to Sholing, just outside the box for the initial foul on Dan. Charlie Davis took the 20 yard free kick and hit the most perfect shot round the wall and into the top right corner! No keeper on earth would have saved that, a stunning goal and possibly, even better than the free kick he scored on his debut. Soon after, a panicked Didcot defence hit a back pass to the keeper and the ref awarded the indirect free kick to Sholing, 13 or 14 yards from goal. However, the wall was allowed to line-up on the 6 yard box line, meaning they were able to get a deflection on Dan Mason's shot to take it over. Substitute Lloyd Isgrove tried a scissor kick finish to a ball bouncing around the near post area, the keeper couldn't hold it and it there was a brief melee as Brad went in to try to force the ball home and the keeper picked up an accidental kick in the head, which thankfully he quickly recovered from. As he had been all game, Dan Mason was just too strong for the Didcot defenders and appeared to be in behind before being dragged down from behind. Only a yellow for Carnell, who was fortunate not to have been, booked in the first half when he fouled Dan. Didcot managed to force a few corners late on, but Gosney and the Sholing defence held firm to limit the amount of late drama. Byron went close with a header and then Dan Mason hooked the ball over the keeper from close range, only to have his goal ruled out by a dubious offside call. Then as the keeper lost possession on the edge of his box, the ball fell to Copey, but off-balance, he couldn't find the empty net from the angle. It was the great sight of seeing Dan Miller making his first appearance of the season for the final 10 minutes. He typically won a few commanding headers as Didcot pumped the ball into the box. The only real concern came when Didcot loudly appealed for a penalty in added time, but the referee waved them away. Second win the space of a few days and another well-deserved one as Sholing FC dominated the match. Congratulations to Ryan Gosney on his 150th clean sheet for Sholing, a remarkable achievement.

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