Didcot Town 2 Reading XI 3 (10th July 2012)
A fine and mainly sunny drive to Didcot via a rush hour and Olympic Torch avoiding route via Henley, gave way to very wet and murky gloom just outside Didcot. I’ve been to the town many times before. Not only was I born there, and visited relatives there regularly into my teens, but a pre-season trip to Didcot has been a fairly regular early test for Reading in recent years.
The gulf in class has usually meant it’s been more of a fitness test than a competitive match. One meeting finished with the score only one goal away from double figures – not to Didcot I hasten to add.
This meeting promised to be closer, being effectively Reading’s 3rd and 4th choice teams under the modern name of the development squad. It was still 3-0 to Reading at half time though, although I missed one of the goals through trying to hold down an umbrella, which was threatening to go Mary Poppins on me in the gusting breeze. The other two were good efforts though – a powerful shot from an angle by Jordan Obita, and a fine chip over the keeper from Ryan Edwards.
With the sun setting through the mists from the Didcot power station’s cooling towers – a sight as close as large scale industrial concrete brutalism ever gets to beauty – Reading came out making multiple changes, and these changes were enough to change the game too.
In a much more even, and certainly much drier, second half, Didcot pulled one back midway through the half. That I completely missed this goal through chatting rather sums up the entertainment value on offer in what I’ll kindly term a “slower paced” second period. Reading missed a very good chance to add to their three goals when Tanner nicked the ball past the on-rushing keeper, only to see the ball drift just wide. Didcot made the score look very respectable with a one on one in injury time. Given the amount damage Reading have done to their goal nets in these previous encounters, you can hardly begrudge them a little bit of joy.
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