United slip to defeat in Oxfordshire derby

THAME UNITED 0  DIDCOT TOWN 1 (David Murphy 9th minute)

Evo-Stik Southern League Division One Central
Saturday 19th January 2019@ The ASM Stadium
Attendance – 129
Weather – 4 Celsius and Dry

The big Oxfordshire clash between Thame United FC (4th) against Didcot Town (5th) kicked off in Thame on Saturday and had vital points for both sides up for grabs in the race for making the playoffs. Even in winter the pitch at The ASM Stadium continues to impress and provides a feast of entertaining foootball.

Thame were aware before kick off that a draw or win would keep them above Didcot in the league. Thame entered thematch with 3 wins in a row where as Didcot were coming off an away defeat to Bromsgrove.


Thame United FC – Craig Hill (GK), Harry Mepham, David Lynn, Jamie Essex, Andy Gledhill, Jack Tutton, Liam Tack, Ben Sturgess (C), Lynton Goss, Dan West and Matt Peake-Pijnen

Subs used – Duran Martin

Didcot Town FC – Leigh Bedwell (GK), Sam Bardell (C), Morgan Williams, Lewis Hayden, Cameron McNeil, Luke Carnell, John Dennis, Callum McNish, Lance Williams, David Murphy and Greg Hackett

Subs used – Ollie Thomas

*** FIRST HALF ***

It was a tentative start for both sides with very little chances created. Didcot had control of the game in terms of possession and were awarded multiple throw ins and freekicks in midfield. Thame played sensible at the start trying to avoid any early mistakes. It became evident early on that Didcot’s approach was to attack the flanks.

Didcot in attack were pushing numbers of players forward and Thame were trying to close down early. The deadlock was broken when a  controversial throw in was awarded to Didcot on the left wing. From the throw in Hackett made a run into the box and was able to pass the ball back across goal to an unmarked Murphy who was able to pass it into the net. Murphy nearly made it 2-0 when a cross directed towards him was headed over the bar and at this point Thame were losing the midfield battle. Thame had to rely on Gledhill at the back numerous times to clear the ball with strong headers away from the box.

During the first 25 minutes neither goal keeper had much to deal with and Thame’s West had to drop deeper to try and influence the game in Thame’s favour. Thame’s winger Peake-Pijnen did manage to create half a chance when his chipped cross towards Goss was unable to be guided into the net. The last 15 minutes proved to be a positive period of play by Thame. There was a change in tactics whereby the defence had pushed higher up to try and maintain that play was in Didcot’s half. Thame were awarded a free kick upon 31 minutes which was treated
as shoot on goal by Peake-Pijnen which found the middle of the goal and comfortably saved by Bedwell. tham continued to be knocking on the door and put multiple chances wide of goal. Both teams continued to show a high work rate throughout the first half until the 45 minutes were up. This half had a strong flow to the game with very little stoppages in play.


This half began at a slower pace due to a few stoppages in play. Didcot were awarded a freekick from a long distance which when taken took a nasty deflection and only just went over the crossbar. Didcot created another positive run in the game on the left side which was taken inside before a 25 yard attempt found both hands of Thame’s
Hill. Not long after this Mepham made a surging run up the right wing and was able to fire a dangerous cross but
players were too far away to capitalise. Thame had upped their tempo of play and were attempting to get behind the
Didcot back line which was proving a difficult challenge. As Thame were then attempting for the next few minutes shots from distance whereby one example West attempted a 30 yard strike highlighting his side’s frustration.

Despite this Didcot still were on the back foot and a further chance came to Tutton on a difficult half volley which again could only find the goalkeeper. Didcot were determined to have men behind the ball and counter when possible and this led to a threatening attack which was anticipated by Mepham before he made a switching pass to Peake-Pijnen on the run which was fired along the ground shaking the post. Thame manager could be heard from the Dug Out saying to his players that the goal will come.

Thame brought on Martin with 15 minutes left and he was able to find space on the right and fire a cross which took a huge deflection that went out just pass the Didcot post. A dramatic few minutes then followed whereby a penalty was awarded to thame following West being held by the Didcot goal keeper who was booked for the offence. There
was a delay in play before Goss was able to take the penalty which did find the target but was saved by Bedwell to his
right side which was tipped wide for a corner. Thame finished the game with some more late chances such as Essex’s half volley which went straight down the middle to Bedwell. A final chance to save a point was when Goss was able to push forward and put in a cross towards his team mate West who couldn’t get the right angle to avoid it going wide.

After 4 minutes of injury time the whistle blew and Didcot were joyful in their celebrations.

Today’s game highlighted that literally one chance can win a game. This was an entertaining game for a neutral but a nervous affair for fans of either side. Thame gave everything in the second half but no equaliser found the net. Didcot dug in deep in the second half and Carnell provided some great leadership in the back line. Didcot will be pleased to leave the ASM Stadium getting back to winning ways and climbing to 4th positon. Thame Utd have dropped to 5th place but results elsewhere were favourable and Thame remain 4 points clear of 6th placed team Berkhamstead FC. Thame Utd should be proud of their performance and on balance a draw would have been a fair result.

*** INTERVIEW –  Comments following today’s game by Thame United’s # 9 Captain Ben Sturgess ***

“We knew Didcot are a very good team and Didcot were on top the first 15 minutes before we got into the game. In the second half we dominated in possession and the chances created. It’s important not to get too downbeat over the result as last week we came from behind to win. Also, we don’t have the time to dwell on the result as we have a big week ahead back in training Tuesday/Thursday and the next game comes around quickly. Next week we are away to
Bromsgrove and it is a massive game for us as in this division any one can beat any one.

*** MAN OF THE MATCH – sponsored by Figaro’s Barber in Thame ***

The Thame United man of the match today was Harry Mepham. Thame’s right back displayed a high work rate throughout full of energy. Harry made numerous attacking runs and dribbles, not to mention putting in some
dangerous crosses. In regards to his defensive duties Harry had a touch opponent to deal with and Harry more often than not won the battle. Despite the defeat Harry’s performance has earned him a wash and cut at the our sponsor’s new Figaro’s Barber shop on Park Street in Thame.

*** KEY STATS *** 

Shots on target –  Thame 4 – 3 Didcot
Corners – Thame 7 – 3 Didcot
Yellow Cards – Thame 2 – 2 Didcot
Red Cards – Thame 0 – 0 Didcot
Penalties – Thame 1 – 0 Didcot

*** NEXT GAME ***

AWAY @ The Victoria Ground,
Saturday 26/1/2019
Kick Off 15:00 – Bromsgrove Sporting V
Thame United

Website –
Sports Shots –

Admission Prices @ The ASM Stadium

Adult £8
Concession £5
Child £1
There is ample free parking at the Stadium. The Club also has a fully licensed bar on site.

The ASM Stadium
Meadow View Park

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