On the two occasions that I have visited Yarnton Road I have been able to park in the car park that runs alongside and behind the clubhouse. If that is full, there appears to be room to park on Yarnton Road itself. The club house entrance is outside the boundaries of the stadium complex so, if you do need to use the facilities, you have to leave the ground to do so. Upon entering the ground (fee for this league game was £5) you find yourself behind one of the goals. Immediately to the right is the tea and snack bar and to the left is a small covered standing area. On the right-hand side of the pitch is a covered seating area and opposite this, on the allotment side of the ground, are the dug outs. Considering the weather there were quite a few hardy souls around for the game on Tuesday evening. This number was bolstered by a sizeable following from Abingdon. Billing themselves as the best supporters in the Hellenic league, the Ultras as they like to be called, kept up a constant barrage of support throughout the entire game, even without the use of their drum. I am not sure if the aforementioned percussion instrument was even present but I take it that the noise would not have been welcomed by at least one local. Onto the game itself. I’ll be honest, I was expecting it to be a one-sided affair. Kidlington, currently second in the league, and pushing hard for promotion looked odds on for a comfortable win against an Abingdon side struggling at the wrong end and with only 4 wins all season. However, the game was not much past the 5 minute mark when it had become apparent that they were not here to make up the numbers. In fact, it was the Yellows who were taking the game to their hosts. Kidlington were finding it hard to get a foothold on the game at all however, against the run of play, they did force the best opportunity of the first 15 minutes. It was the Yellows, though, who deservedly took the lead after 23 minutes. A cross was half cleared to the edge of the area where Frank met it with a crisp left-footed shot past the home keeper. Still no real response from Kidlington as Abingdon continued to boss the game. The, before the break, the away side scored a second goal. A break down the left was finished off with a fine curling effort from the edge of the box from striker and captain Odhiambo. So, totally against the form book, we went into half-time with Abingdon two goals to the good and deservedly so. Surely the second half would see an improved performance from Kidlington? The Greens, presumably after a rocket from the boss, came out early for the second half. The change in the game was immediately noticeable. Kidlington were forcing the pace and having far more of the ball than in the first half. Saying that, the hard-working Odhiambo combined with some tireless central midfield work and the runs of Haines on the right flank, were still causing problems for the home side. Despite Kidlington gaining control of the game, they couldn’t seem to find the breakthrough to get the back into the game. The game changer, when it finally came, was a strange affair. A right wing cross was met by the head of Greens captain Tommy Franklin and looped, seemingly gently, over the United keeper and into the net. Even though there were only 15 minutes left on the clock there was a feeling that the goal had completely changed the game. Suddenly the Abingdon legs were looking tired, the Kidlington players seemed to have gained a yard or two of pace and the single goal lead looked very precarious. With 3 minutes remaining Kidlington got the equaliser. A corner was headed down in the box and fell perfectly for the unmarked Tommy Castle to smash it home. Now Kidlignton could smell blood and straight from the restart they regained possession and set about pushing for the winner. It came in the final minute of the game. A lung bursting run from Lewis Coyle and a calm, calculated finish broke Abingdon hearts. There was barely time for the celebrations to finish and for Abingdon to kick-off before the referee blew the final whistle.
You had to feel for Abingdon. They had run themselves into the ground for 75 minutes and just didn’t quite have the legs to see the game out. Their support, the Ultras, also deserve credit for supporting their team to the bitter end. I think their claim may well be true you know. Credit must also be given to the Kidlington players and management. I’m not sure what was said to the players at half-time but, whatever it was, it did the trick. The players responded well and, once they got one back, there was a feeling that there was only one result on the cards. All in all I thought that this was a thoroughly entertaining game of football. Both sides played some good stuff, with an emphasis on passing and moving. A great advert for the league.
Kidlington - @kidlington_fc
Abingdon United - @aufcOfficial
Abingdon Ultras - @aufcultras