Since I last made the trip to Kidlington there has been an addition to the ground. A very nice new covered seating area now adorns the Yarnton Road side of the pitch. Unfortunately for the club, it is this stand that has been the scene of some mindless vandalism in recent months. Let's hope the stupidity has passed and the perpetrators have been/will be caught.
After transferring from the South & West Division last season, visitors Marlow had started the season very well and came into this match in fourth sport, three points adrift of second-placed Farnborough. Kidlington, it has to be said, are probably still finding their feet at this level. However, five wins and three draws so far had left them in 17th spot with a bit of breathing space between themselves and the trapdoor. After some recent good runs, both sides were coming into the game on the back of a defeat. Marlow had lost a tight game at home to AFC Dunstable by a goal to nil whilst Kidlington had gone down 3-0 at Farnborough but, by all accounts, had played well in defeat.
Now, at this point, it has to be said that in four previous games, 2 at Kidlington and 2 away, I had never seen The
Greens lose a game. In fact, the 2-2 draw at Brackley last season was the only time I have seen them drop a point. Would my run continue?
Well, I would have to wait a little longer to find out as kick-off was delayed slightly after the discovery that a dog
had used the Yarnton Road pitch as a toilet. However, a plastic bag was duly produced and the game could get under way.
Unsurprisingly, given their lofty league position, Marlow were quick to get on the ball and for the first few minutes Kidlington were finding it hard to get a foothold. However, Marlow didn't really stretch the Greens defence too much and the home side gradually grew in confidence and began to get into the game.
Kidlington did survive a scare after 13 minutes though. A delightful cross from Osei-Tutu was met by the head of Marcus Mealing who beat the keeper but saw his effort come back off the foot of the post.
Kidlington responded with an attack of their own which was repelled by Marlow keeper, Simon Grant, coming out of his box to clear. The clearance fell to a green shirt who tried to put the ball back into the Marlow box only to be thwarted by the hand of Grant outside of the penalty area. Grant picked up a booking for his trouble but the free-kick came to nothing so you could say he took one for the team.
The game was now pretty even. Kidlington were beginning to play some nice football up until the last third, but not really causing any problems for Grant and his defence. Marlow, for some reason, had resorted to long balls towards Mealing and then trying to get players around him to pick up the pieces.
Kidlington finally made the breakthrough on 28 minutes. A break up the right flank culminated in a cross gong into the Marlow box. Grant seemed to misjudge the flight and the ball fell to the feet of Jack Dunmall who made no mistake, stroking the ball into the corner of the net. 1-0 to Kidlington.
Marlow almost hit straight back, forcing a corner on their right hand side. The ball was played into the box where Calum Gallimore powered a header against the bar.
As we went into added time at the end of the first half a Marlow shot was blocked by a Kidlington defender to huge penalty claims from the Blues. It certainly looked like the ball struck a hand but the referee, presumably deciding it was ball to hand rather than vice-versa, waved play on and seconds later blew for the end of the half.
HT Kidlington 1 Marlow 0. The away side would certainly feel that they should have at least been level given the two attempts against the woodwork and the strong penalty claims. However, it's goals that count and Kidlington had taken their chance well.
Marlow huffed and puffed for a while after the second goal and, without doubt, saw more of the ball than in the first half. However, too many passes were going astray and they seemed to lack any kind of cohesion going forward. I don't want to seem to hard on them. Every team has bad days and I can only assume that this was one of them for Marlow.
The final nail in The Blues coffin came on the 72nd minute. A driven cross, from the right this time, was deftly turned in by Anaclet Odhiambo for 3-0 and that was that. There was no way back for Marlow now and you could see that both sides knew it.
FT 3-0. The referee blew for full time and signalled the end of what was, ultimately, a comfortable and well-deserved three points for Kidlington. They stay in 17th but are now 13 points clear of the drop zone and, no doubt, looking upwards. Marlow stay fourth despite a second consecutive defeat and will hope to stop the rot at mid-table Arlesey on Saturday. The Greens, meanwhile, have a weekend off before going to Hanwell next Tuesday.
I still have not seen Kidlington lose a football match and I have not seen them drop a single point at Yarnton Road. I expect my season ticket will be in the post shortly.
Good luck to both sides for the rest of the season.
Kidlington - @kidlington_fc
Marlow - @marlowfc