ANDY Ballard has praised his team’s battling qualities as they prepare for another festive derby.

The Railwaymen fought back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 on Boxing Day against Kidlington, scoring twice in injury time to stun their hosts.

Although Ballard was disappointed with his team’s overall performance in the Evo-Stik South League West Division clash, he says Didcot’s never-say-die spirit earned them the point.

And with a home clash against North Leigh tomorrow, the manager is hoping to see the same qualities.

“Local derbies never tend to go they way you might expect,” Ballard said.

“The conditions were dealt with by Kidlington a lot better than ourselves, and they also took their chances.

“Early on, we were guilty of not taking them. But I must give credit to the players as they still managed to battle back to get a point.

“Getting results when you’re not at your best is a good habit to have.”

George Jeacock is available after a three-match suspension, while Lewis Hayden and Michael Alexis also return.

Seth Humphries and Callum McNish remain sidelined with injuries.

North Leigh had a disappointing Boxing Day with a 2-0 home defeat to Evesham United.

After a string of postponements, the Millers were hoping for a positive return to action.

But boss John Brough was not happy with the performance of his side and is calling for a reaction.

“We’ve got to show a little more than we did on Boxing Day,” he said.

“The effort was there, but we need a bit more quality, particularly defensively.

“We didn’t create enough either, but it’s a team thing, something we will be looking to improve on.

“It didn’t help that we had a long spell without a game, that showed on Boxing Day.

“A local derby against a team that are doing well is a good way to get back on track.

“We must start performing better than we are. We have a few games in hand now, but we need to turn our form around and produce more consistency.”

Connor Waldon (knee) is doubtful, while Lee Marshall and Will Wellon are away.

Kidlington take on high-flying Bideford at Yarnton Road.

James Organ will face a fitness test after hobbling off in the 3-3 draw at Didcot.

Tom Castle is unavailable, Ben Brown is back from holiday and Mark Bell is added to the squad after a long-term injury.

Elliott Osborne-Ricketts is suspended.


Didcot Tn (v North Leigh, home): from Bedwell, Elkins, Young, Learoyd, Alexis, Barcelos, Pin, Agyakwa, Murphy, Reid, Thomas, Ballard, Woodley, Cattell, Barder, Joyce, McNeill, Jeacock, Hayden.

North Leigh (v Didcot Tn, away): from Agboola, Lymn, Keightley, Thomas, Paddock, Mattock, Sheehan, Seacole, Lawrence, McGlynn, Grabe, James, Carroll, Waldon.

Kidlington (v Bideford, home): Warrell, Tetek, E Odhiambo, Castle, Janes, Franklin, Gabbidon, James, Brown, A Odhiambo, Martin, Quainton, McMahon, Organ, Benjamin, Bell.

l OXFORD City welcome Gloucester City to Court Place Farm on New Year’s Day as they bid to stretch their unbeaten league run to nine games.

A superb recent run has seen Mark Jones’s side start to pull away from the Vanarama National League South relegation zone.

Banbury United will bid to bounce back from their shock 2-1 defeat at home to Dunstable Town in midweek when they travel to Stratford Town in the Evo-Stik South League Premier Division.

And Thame United, who lost 1-0 at AFC Dunstable on Boxing Day, host local rivals Aylesbury United in the East Division.