2nd October 2023

The Glovers progressed into the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Qualifying following a comfortable 2-0 win over Didcot Town. First-half goals from Rhys Murphy and Frank Nouble were enough to secure the Glovers’ spot in Monday’s draw.

The opening stages saw the Glovers enjoy most of the possession, but the Didcot defence remained resilient, keeping out any advances from the Yeovil front line.

On 20 minutes, the Glovers broke down the left with Jordan Young playing the ball through to Jordan Maguire-Drew, who was tripped by Didcot skipper Adam Learoyd. Referee Nicholas Dunn pointed to the spot, giving the Glovers a golden opportunity to take the lead. Up stepped Rhys Murphy, who slotted his penalty low to the right, beyond the fingertips of Leigh Bedwell, and into the bottom corner.

Frank Nouble, who had made his physical presence known early on, started to get the ball at his feet more frequently. On 25 minutes, Nouble beat his man down the right and won the Glovers a corner. The corner was taken quickly to Maguire-Drew, who curled it towards the back post but just evaded the head of Jake Wannell.

On 32 minutes, Frank Nouble came driving forward again. Nouble, with a couple of stepovers, cut inside from the right and unleashed an effort that soared into the packed Thatchers Stand. But chances continued to fall for the Glovers. Minutes later, Jordan Maguire-Drew worked his way down the right and crossed, but the Didcot defence managed to clear the ball. On 37 minutes, Jordan Young had a chance to get a shot away. He drove in from the left, glancing past two opponents, before unleashing an effort on his weaker right foot that sailed over the crossbar.

The Glovers’ lead was then doubled on the brink of half-time. Frank Nouble, who continued to cause havoc for the Didcot defenders, latched onto a through ball from Maguire-Drew before lifting the ball over the oncoming keeper and into the net. In stoppage time, Michael Smith clipped a cross in from the right, which found Jordan Maguire-Drew, who, with an acrobatic effort, saw his shot tipped over the bar by Leigh Bedwell in the Didcot goal. The resulting corner was scrambled clear before Nicholas Dunn brought an end to a dominant first half for the Glovers.

The second half started similarly to the first. There were not too many chances to trouble either keeper; however, Jordan Maguire-Drew was bundled over in the box on 51 minutes, but this time the referee waved away any Yeovil appeals.

On 54 minutes, a corner from the right for Didcot fell to the head of Oliver Case, who headed over the bar. Moments later, Case again headed over, this time getting on the end of a free kick from the right wing. Didcot continued to try and regain a foothold in the game and came close again when James Glover’s low shot from 20 yards was collected by Joe Day.

The Glovers then regained some attacking impetus when Rhys Murphy got on the end of a Michael Smith cross, which was headed straight into the arms of Leigh Bedwell. Then Mark Cooper brought on some fresh legs, with Zac Bell and Will Dawes replacing Jordan Young and Michael Smith, with this being Will Dawes’ first competitive minutes of the season following a bout of glandular fever.

It didn’t take Dawes long to find his feet when a driving run down the left wing saw him get past two defenders before his cross was blocked. However, the ball fell to the feet of Josh Owers, who managed to get past his opponent and square the ball to Jordan Maguire-Drew, who looked to have tapped in the Glovers’ third of the afternoon, but the flag was up for offside.

With 20 minutes left of normal time, the flag was up again, this time to deny Rhys Murphy, who latched onto the end of a through ball and lifted the ball over Bedwell in a similar style to Frank Nouble’s first-half goal, but he was denied by the linesman.

On 78 minutes, Patrick Osbourne had a chance to get a goal back for the visitors, but his effort was spectacularly blocked by the head of Josh Staunton, who was on the floor. Then moments later, a cross from the right fell to Osbourne, who, with his back to goal, tried to steer an effort on target, but he put it wide.

On 85 minutes, Will Dawes progressed down the left again before having a shot, but it was blocked. Dawes managed to regain possession and find Charlie Cooper, who tried his luck from 25 yards, but his shot went over the crossbar. On 89 minutes, Didcot had a similar chance that fell to the feet of Jenson Wright, who also saw his effort fly over the crossbar.

The five minutes of additional time were well managed by the Glovers as Didcot were unable to find a goal back, securing a clean sheet and their status in the Emirates FA Cup.