The Webbs Wood Stadium is situated a couple of miles north of Swindon and is part of a larger sports complex. There is ample parking available although there is very little lighting in the lower car park. This was if some concern to me after my experience at Burnham last year. As it happens, there was nothing to worry about.
The ground itself has ample covered areas, mainly on the clubhouse side of the stadium. However, there is also a small covered area on the opposite side, near the dug outs, and a covered standing area behind one of the goals, with a backdrop of coniferous trees. Seating is available for 300, I believe, out of a capacity of approximately 3,000. Certainly, there are worse places to watch a game of football. Considering the amount of rain that we have had recently and the number of postponements, the pitch looked in remarkably good condition.
After sampling the local cuisine and a cup of tea (see Cuppa League) I decided to walk around to the other side of the ground for the first half. I'm not sure if it is an optical illusion or not but the Webbs Wood playing surface looks really large. I haven't been able to find any details are their pitch dimensions but I would certainly say it is towards the top end of the FA rules, definitely length-wise.
On to the game. The first 25 minutes, although a decent match, didn't produce many goalmouth incidents. Didcot, belying their lowly league position, looked to be slightly the better side but I thought that Swindon looked sharper up front. This was borne out when, after Didcot best period of the half, Swindon's Josh Parsons pounced twice in 3 minutes to put them 2-0 in front. The first of these two, in the 26th minute, was a very well struck 25 yard free-kick that flew into the top right of the Didcot net.
Didcot responded well to this setback and looked to up their work-rate. They were rewarded a minute before half-time when they pulled a goal back. So, Swindon lead 2-1 at the break and Didcot could consider themselves a little unlucky to be going in behind.
At this point I had a Twitter conversation with a follower in Norway who asked how I thought it would go. My reply was that Didcot were unfortunate to be behind but Swindon's extra fire-power would see them come out on top. As it happens, I proved myself to be an absolutely useless pundit and justified why I don't gamble on football results.
Didcot started the second half like a team on a mission and, after 48 minutes, were awarded a penalty which was duly put away for 2-2. Seven minutes later they had the lead for the first time through a towering header. Swindon seemed to have completely lost their way in the second half and, to give them their dues, Didcot had reacted to this by stepping up their game considerably.
Things were getting a little heated both on and off the pitch at this point. A running feud between the Swindon centre-forward and Dicot centre-half was about to boil over. At the same time banter between a group of Diddy fans and the stadium announcer had become a little less friendly shall we say. For a neutral it was highly entertaining stuff, even if the language was getting somewhat fruity.
The battle on the pitch finally came to a head when an overly robust challenge from the Didcot centre-half took out the aforementioned Swindon player. What happened next would, I am sure, be described as handbags on Sky Sports News. It has to be said that the referee handled the situation very well. There were a number of players involved, mostly trying to calm the situation, and the two main offenders were embroiled in a wrestling match. The referee duly noted that, although they were pushing, shoving and grappling, there were no actual punches thrown. He showed both players a yellow card which, I thought, was the correct decision. It would have been easy for him to get caught up in the melee and pull out a red. Well played referee.
With 15 minutes remaining Didcot effectively sealed victory with a fourth goal. The second half had been all Didcot and they fully deserved their 4-2 win.
I am sure that Swindon are better than they showed on the night. Their league position would suggest that I caught them on a bad day. They may well push for a playoff spot. Didcot on the other hand, currently in the lower half of the table, should have no worries on this showing. Then again, after my half-time prediction, what do I know?
Swindon Supermarine FC - @SupermarineFC
Didcot Town FC - @didcottownfc