A GOALKEEPING howler from Wayne Brown allowed Didcot Town to claim a draw against Oxford United in a pre-season friendly last night.
Danilson Vincente made the most of the veteran stopper’s fumble to score from close range six minutes from time.
It cancelled out United’s opener, which was provided by Deane Smalley for the second time in as many pre-season games.
Femi Orenuga, released by Everton this summer, started on the right wing for the U’s, while fellow triallists Ryan Tafazoli and Courtney Harris got another chance.
Unsurprisingly the visitors controlled the early exchanges, but it took them until the 16th to test Didcot goalkeeper Marco Belloli, who tipped a low James Constable shot round a post.
From the corner Didcot counter-attacked and Morgan Williams tried his luck with a powerful shot from 25 yards, which Brown held.
United’s grip on the game increased as the half wore on, but they were kept out by a determined Didcot defence.
A superb piece of improvisation from Constable almost broke the deadlock midway through the half, but his overhead kick dropped just over.
Jake Forster-Caskey was at the heart of the U’s best moments. The loanee from Brighton played one brilliant through ball to set Constable away on 35 minutes, only for Belloli to race out and block.
Lance Williams had two efforts late in the half for Didcot, heading the first chance over and shooting the next effort straight at Brown.
Lee Cox, who signed on loan from Swindon Town just before the game, was brought on as one of eight half time changes.
United picked up where they had left off after the restart and Simon Heslop quickly tested Belloli with a low, curling effort.
Tyrone Marsh hit the woodwork before United finally broke the deadlock 13 minutes from time, when Sean Rigg squared for Smalley to tap in.
But the lead lasted just seven minutes. A cross from the right looked harmless, but Brown fumbled and Vincente bundled in an equaliser from a yard.
Both sides went for a winner, but the home fans went home the happier to claim a share of the spoils.
Didcot Tn: Belloli, Heapy, Stanley, Thomas, Pierson (Henderson 50), L Williams (Bridges 46), Elkins (Tappin 46), Bowles (Odhiambo 55), Clarke (Vincente 55), Haysham (Osborne-Ricketts 50), M
Williams (Harris 78)
Sub not used: Beames.
Oxford Utd (1st half): Brown, Batt, Raynes, Tafazoli, Capaldi, Harris, Forster-Caskey, Chapman, Craddock, Constable, Orenuga.
Oxford Utd (2nd half): Brown, Chapman, Evans, Tafazoli, McGinty, Heslop, McAllister, Cox, Rigg, Orenuga (Marsh 55), Smalley.
Referee: J Busby.