Didcot Casuals U16 6 Thame Colts U16 6
Colts and Casuals share 12 goals in Didcot ding-dong
Many had difficulty locating the venue for the fixture against Didcot Casuals (including the referee, who failed to arrive altogether!). However any frustrations resulting from unscheduled early morning tours of Didcot and its environs were soon banished as the Casuals and the Colts conjured up a hugely entertaining topsy-turvy contest on a pleasant September morning which, to use a well-worn cliche, 'had everything'.
The Colts got off to a good start, with Barnaby's pace causing problems from the get-go. A trademark run and cross ran under the Didcot 'keeper and across the 6 yard box: all that was missing was a red shirt to knock it into the net. Ash followed this up with a spectacular effort from way out that drifted just wide. However, the home side took the lead (arguably against the run of play) from the penalty spot after Joe was outpaced and mistimed a challenge in the box. Straight from the restart though Finn was in on goal: though his shot and the subsequent rebound that fell to him were both well saved, 'Barna' sprinted in to slam home the loose ball to level. Merely moments later it was 2-1 to the Colts: Tom's throw was headed on by Curtis and found its way to Finn who thinking quickly hit a brilliant half volley over the home goalie. After Adam's missed 1-on-1 opportunity the scores were soon level again, Reuben's save falling kindly for a Didcot striker to tap home off the post. In the very next attack the visitors' defence was outpaced and Didcot took the lead for first time, but not for long as James Grant's free kick from 25 yards deceived the opposition 'keeper, the ball having bounced just in front of him. A bonkers half of football concluded with the Colts conceding two further quickfire goals, giving the hosts a 5-3 half-time lead.
The second half brought a slight let-up in the relentless excitement, initially anyway. Finn hit the inside of the post just after half-time, but despite protestations that the ball had crossed the line no goal was given. A good 10 or 15 minutes then passed with no goals, until Reuben was beaten at his near post after great skill from a Didcot player led to him evading two challenges and firing home from an acute angle to establish a three goal cushion and seemingly clinch victory. But no! As both sets of supporters thought they'd seen it all Curtis dribbled through the Didcot defence and poked home with his right foot, Tom E then smashed home a loose ball from the left hand edge of the box for 6-5 and Adam levelled the score with minutes to go, getting off the off mark for the season by slotting past the home 'keeper to set up a grandstand finish. Thame had two good chances to clinch a monumental victory through Barna and James G, and a succession of corners mostly won by Tom F (who was making his league debut) kept pulses racing until the 80th minute, but the game ended 6 (SIX) apiece. Far from a 'bore draw'!
This was a fantastically enjoyable contest played in really good spirit and refereed by one of the Didcot coaches: big thanks to him as without a ref the game may not have gone ahead had he not stepped up. Didcot will be gutted to have scored six and not won: from a three goal deficit a draw always feels like a win, but the fact that we conceded six will ring alarm bells with Mike, and you'd imagine this might be discussed at upcoming training sessions!