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Rams bounce back to edge past Didcot

Saturday 17th February 2024
Southern League Premier Division South
Didcot Town 0 Beaconsfield Town 1
Loop Meadow Stadium - Att 252
Ram of the Match - Jacques Kpohomouh

James Dobson’s 85th-minute strike was enough to ease The Rams past Didcot Town in a dour struggle at the Loop Meadow Stadium.

At first glance, the playing surface looked to be an improvement on recent away trips, relatively level, with plenty of grass cover and well drained.

In practice it was horrible. Bobbly uneven and unpredictable. Conditions were not helped by a swirling breeze that The Rams struggled to come to grips with in the first half and never really succeeded.

More astute readers may detect that there wasn’t much action of note to record in the first half. They’re not wrong it was a drab affair.

Debutant Kamaron English was the highlight for the Rams and his battle with right-back Josh Grant was the most absorbing element of a lacklustre error-strewn first period. His pace and skill gave the young full-back a torrid first period but Grant’s defensive colleagues dealt well with the service English was able to provide and limited sights of goal for the returning Tom McElroy and Adanioritsewo Okorogheye, who never really got to grips with playing as a pair up front having both previously ploughed the loan striker furrow.
For the most part two well organised defences dealt comfortably with sporadic attacks as both sides struggled to get to grips with the conditions or string five passes together without, bobble induced extra touches and, misplaced passes.

The closest either side came to a goal in the first period was a blocked Jacques Kpohomouh effort after a corner was knocked down just inside the area. The centre half’s solid strike was blocked by James Glover, Didcot’s outstanding midfield presence before the break.

Half Time 0 - 0

Josh Payne who picked up a slight knock was withdrawn as a precaution at the interval. Sean Frazer stepped into the midfield holding roll and Dan Bradshaw, the latest victim of the stomach bug that has swept through the squad in the last fortnight, was inserted at Right back.

The change and whatever Jon Underwood said at halftime had the desired effect.

Beaconsfield were on the front foot from the off. The presence of Bradshaw meant Jake Gosling came more into the game and chances pressure began to build.

Ten minutes into the second half as The Rams set up another counter, James Glover launched a poorly timed and very late tackle on Sean Frazer in the centre of midfield.

Referee Mr Oliver Kaya had no hesitation in issuing a straight red card. At full speed it looked a touch harsh. If you’re as old as me you’ll recall there being ten of them a game without so much as a booking but these days if you go to ground slide in from a distance and get it wrong you’re taking a chance and giving the ref a decision to make.

The game wasn’t exactly over at that point but the homeside never really recovered from losing their best player with so much time left.

There was only likely to be one winner though. If Beaconsfield could get the breakthrough.
Didcot’s defence continued to stand firm and rode their luck at times with a series of last-ditch blocks and late deflections denying goalbound efforts.

Adanioritsewo Okorogheye had the two best efforts, a deft flick at the near post was well saved by Leigh Bedwell and then had a shot from 10 yards blocked by a combination of Bedwell and Pat Osbourne.
Asher Yearwood and Tom McElroy saw goalbound strikes from the edge of the area deflected narrowly wide. Jake Gosling took over the game on the right flank and it seemed only a matter of time before the resistance of 10-man Didcot would break.

They held out until the 85th minute though. Elias Grant a 75th-minute substitute for English had a similar impact to his debut last week, created three chances in 10 minutes before battling for the ball in midfield getting the better of Osbourne and feeding James Dobson, popping up in the right back channel, who advanced towards the edge of the box before driving a low effort into the corner.

It was fair reward for their second half dominance but the relief was palpable. The 10 men of Didcot did their best and stuck to their task but after the sending off the created very little as an attacking force. Luke Neville and Jacques Kpohomouh dealt comfortably and when needed Matt Rowley was decisive and assured under the high ball and commanded his box to relieve pressure when needed. Kpohomouh in particular put in a superb display notable for spending the last half an hour on a yellow card but still managing to maintain his physical and combative presence to good effect. Didcot were reduced to a couple of dangerous crosses but lacked the craft to create a clear opening and Beaconsfield saw out the remaining time in reasonable comfort.

Not a game that will live long in anyones memory but three crucial points at the business end of the season against a struggling opponent figthing for survival. Job done, move on.

Next up The Rams entertain play-off chasers Walton and Hersham at Holloways Park on Saturday afternoon.

All images © Neale Blackburn Photography 2024
Game stats -


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