A STUART Zanone goal – his second in the game – deep into stoppage time, earned WGC their first league point in four matches and rounded off a staggering Citizens’ comeback in the closing 10 minutes of this thrilling game.
Adam Fisher’s side were trailing 3-1 with just eight minutes to go, when substitute Dan Bond gave the Clarets hope, crashing in an unstoppable effort after Zanone had set up the chance.
The home team, played for the final 55 minutes of the game with 10 men, after combative midfielder Ollie Thomas had been given a straight red card by referee Andrew Humphries for a dangerous, over-the-top tackle on WGC’s skipper for the day, Ben Spaul.
Spaul took several minutes to recover from the challenge after intensive treatment.
WGC went into this game without a trio of regulars – striker Jon Clements (suspended), skipper Danny Payne (unwell) and ,midfielder Nick Elliott (unavailable).
Loanee from Stevenage FC, Theo Sackey-Mensah and new winger Ramone Cassidy-Sinclair were drafted in and Ashley Kersey recalled.
A rather tame first-half in comparison, saw Didcot take the lead in 24 minutes, when Callum McNish drove low past WGC keeper Dan Green from 15 yards, after the home side’s David Murphy had set up the chance.
Only towards half-time did WGC threaten, when from a Charlie Smith free-kick, Ashley Kersey knocked down a chance that Zanone drove
straight at home keeper Leigh Bedwell and then Lee Close, starting in midfield, caught a volley well, but again it was straight at the keeper.
A minute after the restart, Didcot doubled their lead with a controversial penalty.
Scarcely anyone in the 171, somehow hostile, home crowd knew why Mr Humphries awarded the Berkshire team a penalty, when a corner came in from the right.
It was later revealed it had been given for dangerous play by returned WGC defender Dave Corran, who had raised his boot and caught a Didcot player on the head.
Full-back Sam Barder supplied a crisp spot-kick for a 2-0 lead for Didcot.
WGC needed a quick reply and got one just past the hour mark, Zanone restoring his goal-a-game ratio with a deft, flicked header just inside the far post from Charlie Smith’s corner, for 2-1.
But just when it looked the Citizens were coming back into the game and could, perhaps, take a point, their revival was rocked back on its heels with a Didcot third, again from McNish, but this time his low drive took a major deflection off a WGC defender, to leave keeper Green stranded.
It looked curtains for the visitors, until Bond, who had replaced Sackey-Mensah early in the second-half, struck the goal of the game to re-kindle WGC’s belief they could take something from the game.
They pressed for the final 10 minutes and into the third minute of stoppage time, when newcomer Ramone Cassidy-Sinclair, making his full debut, burst down the left and pulled a low cross back for Zanone to crash in his second of the game and send WGC’s travelling contingent into raptures at the final whistle.
WGC: Green, Rolfe, Sackey-Mensah (Bond 52), Corran, Smith, Close, Spaul, Keenleyside, Cassidy-Sinclair, Zanone, Kersey (Sexton 77).