Sunday, 18 March 2012

AFC Totton 0-0 Redditch United, 17/03/12 3pm


Totton came into this game on the back of two superb away wins. Last weekend a 1-0 win at Banbury United put Totton firmly back in the title race after Brackley could only draw 1-1 at Totton's league neighbours Bashley. Then on Tuesday evening a rather under-strength Stags side defied the odds to beat a full-strength Havant & Waterlooville of the Conference South in the Hampshire Senior Cup semi final to set up a final clash with Eastleigh at Southampton FC's St Mary's Stadium. Surely the visit of relegation threatened Redditch United would give Totton the chance to make it 3 wins in a row. As we know though, any team can beat any other team in this league, irrespective of league position.

In the first minute Stefan Brown went down with a worrying looking head injury after a tackle. After a couple of minutes of treatment, thankfully Brown was back on his feet and ready to continue playing.

In the absence of the injured Mike Gosney, left back Charlie Knight was playing on the left wing and Ian Richardson was pushed out to play at left back. His run down the left wing ended with a cross to Ryan Moss who headed straight at the goalkeeper.

Nathaniel Sherborne then drew a good save from the keeper when he nearly converted Moss' low cross.

A good bit of play in the box almost gave Totton the lead when Brown latched onto Moss' knock down and slipped the ball through to Sherborne but his curling shot was just wide of the far post.

Ross Bottomley then sent one unlucky steward on a long trek to retrieve the ball when his massive clearance from a long ball into the box left the ground and probably wasn't far off reaching Testwood Lake!

Jamie Whisken went up for a corner but headed over the bar from Ryan Hill's delivery.

A foul on Hill on the edge of the box gave Totton a free kick. Hill delivered, the ball was headed clear as far as Charlie Knight and he was taken out on the edge of the box. Another free kick, another Hill effort. This time the Redditch wall did it's job as the ball deflected off it for a corner, which came to nothing.

Half time: AFC Totton 0-0 Redditch United

In the second half the defences did all the work as there were hardly any clear chances for either side.

Sherborne cut inside from the right but his cross-shot was gathered by the keeper with Nathan Campbell waiting to pounce.

Redditch substitute Chris Russell was then denied by James Bittner at the other end after running onto a good ball through the Totton defence.

Campbell should have been through on goal soon after, but the linesman flagged for offside despite Campbell coming from behind the defender to get to the ball first.

Stuart Hendrie then worked himself some space in the box but could only shoot wide with just Bittner to beat.

Jon Davies and John McKie soon entered the game in place of Stefan Brown and Charlie Knight as Totton seemed stuck for ideas.

Richardson did well to block a goal-bound shot from Lee Osborne finding the net as Redditch continued to threaten.

The referee then waved away strong penalty appeals from Totton after Davies was felled in the box by Alex Hickman as he ran onto Sherborne's through ball.

Hickman was then lucky to escape with just a yellow card when he wiped out McKie as the young winger tried to race past him on the left wing, going in studs up and sending McKie flying.

From the free kick that followed, Campbell was inches away from getting his head on the ball at the back post.

Bittner then saved a point for Totton when he denied Aaron Forde after he ran into the box, through the defence, and aimed for the bottom corner.

In the dying seconds, both sides had chances to snatch all 3 points. First, Ryan Moss chested down Hill's high cross to the far post but was denied at point black range by Coleman when it seemed certain he would score.

Then, Chris Russell did well to bring down a long punt down-field and get it under control, but Carl Pettefer blocked his effort and the ball rolled safely into Bittner's hands.

Full time: AFC Totton 0-0 Redditch United

After two fantastic results on the road, Totton were stopped in their tracks at the Testwood Stadium by a determined Redditch side. The reverse fixture at Redditch back in November also ended 0-0. With Brackley beating Weymouth 3-1, it opened up a 5 point gap between the league leaders and Totton, but The Stags have a game in hand on The Saints and anything can still happen between now and the end of the season. Next up for Totton is another two home games in a row. Stourbridge visit on Tuesday evening, then next Saturday Leamington are in town.

AFC Totton: Bittner, Hill, Whisken, Bottomley, Richardson, Brown (Davies 60), Campbell, Pettefer, Knight (McKie 69), Sherborne, Moss. Unused subs: Porter, Odam, Osman.

Redditch United: Coleman, Stringfellow, Robinson, Adkins, Hickman, Grimes, Hendrie, Forde, Deabill (Russell 46), Halsall, OsborneUnused Subs : Moses-Garvey, Hull, Knott, Bedford.

Officials: Referee: Mr A Laver. Assistants: Mr D Gillespie & Mr D Howard-Tomes.

Attendance: 460.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

AFC Totton 1-1 Frome Town, 03/03/2012 3pm


Totton are on a pretty poor run at the moment. Since a 3-1 win over Evesham United last month, The Stags have drawn two and lost one, scoring just one goal (a penalty). Surely the visit of lowly Frome Town would give Totton the chance to get back to winning ways. In the away game Totton won 3-1 with two goals for Stefan Brown and one for Mark Osman. Before this game, a minute's applause was held for former Totton press officer and club legend Pete Chilcott who sadly passed away last week at the age of 92.

Totton began the game in promising fashion. Charlie Knight's cross was pushed into Jon Davies' path by Frome keeper Darren Chitty and the winger's shot was blocked by the defence and the ball was cleared.

Ryan Hill then crossed to Nathan Campbell in the box and he laid the ball off for Mike Gosney who shot high over the bar.

Frome started to get themselves back in the game and Totton had to be at their defensive best to keep the away side at bay.

A foul by Hill gave Frome a free kick out on the right wing. The ball was headed clear by Gosney only as far as Mark Cooper 20 yards out but the defender's shot was high and wide.

Totton threatened again when Hill's throw in found Nathaniel Sherborne in the box and his shot on the turn was straight at Chitty.

Totton have gone off the boil a bit in recent weeks and there were more frustrated groans from the home fans when Frome took the lead.

Matt Smith's volley was saved well by James Bittner but he could only parry the ball onto the head of Luke Ballinger who lofted a header over the keeper and into the net.

A couple of half chances for Frome followed, but it was Totton who came closest to scoring next.

Dean Flockton's foul on Davies earned him a yellow card and Totton a free kick. Gosney's effort looked destined for the top corner until Chitty's glove intercepted at the expense of a corner.

Just before half time, Gosney came close with another free kick from a similar distance. This time the keeper was getting nowhere near it, but he didn't need to be as the ball whistled past the post.

Half time: AFC Totton 0-1 Frome Town

Totton came out fighting in the second half, but with the wind in their faces the football wasn't exactly pretty.

A foul on Ryan Moss gave Totton a free kick out wide on the left. Hill played it to the far post where it was headed back across goal and after some frantic pinball in the box the ball was eventually scrambled clear by the Frome defence.

Soon after, Totton made a double change with Jon Davies and Ryan Hill making way for Nathan Jack and Ian Richardson, and Jack instantly began to make an impact.

A dangerous cross from the substitute was put behind for a corner and Gosney's delivery was volleyed just past the post by Sherborne.

Another good cross from Jack found Charlie Knight on the far post but the full back couldn't get the ball on target and it just cleared the crossbar.

The wind died down with about 20 minutes to go and Bittner became a focal point for starting attacks with his long punts down-field no longer being held up by the blustery conditions.

A long ball forward from the 'keeper found Gosney in the opposite penalty area and he controlled it, turned and shot in one move, only to see his shot bounce agonisingly off the post.

Minutes later another blast from Bittner's right boot found Jamie Whisken who flicked the ball on with his head, but there was no one anticipating the flick on and the ball rolled out for a goal kick.

Stefan Brown entered the action in place of Charlie Knight with 15 minutes remaining and within seconds Totton were finally on level terms.

Brown did well to retain possession 25 yards out and played the ball out wide to Jack on the right wing. Jack cut inside onto his left foot and unleashed a powerful low drive that found it's way through the packed penalty area, across goal and into the bottom corner.

Totton piled forward in search of a late winner, but they were almost made to pay for their attacking intent with 5 minutes left.

Frome played the ball out to the wing and after getting away from Ian Richardson, Ballinger cut inside, drew Bittner out of his goal and squared the ball for Smith who shot wide with the open goal at his mercy.

But it was Totton who would come closest in the dying minutes when Gosney's corner was headed onto the top of the crossbar by Brown.

Full time: AFC Totton 1-1 Frome Town

Another frustrating afternoon for Totton fans who now haven't witnessed a Stags victory for 4 games. A 0-0 draw with Swindon Supermarine, a 1-0 defeat at Cambridge City and a 1-1 draw with St Albans City preceded this disappointing result to make it 3 points from a possible 12 and just 2 goals scored in that time. Tuesday evening will provide a welcome break from the league when Clevedon Town visit the Testwood Stadium for the Red Insure Cup semi final, kicking off at 7:45pm. The next league outing is next Saturday when we travel to Banbury United.

AFC Totton: Bittner, Hill (Richardson 58), Whisken, Bottomley, Knight (Brown 74), Davies (Jack 58), Campbell, Pettefer, Gosney, Sherborne, Moss. Unused subs: Stockford, McKie.

Frome Town: Chitty, Cooper, Reaney, Flockton, Evans, Lapham, Ballinger (Brigham 90+2), Smith, Walsh (Benison 55), Perrott, Thomson. Unused subs: Ledgister, Quelch, Bennett.

Totton: Jack (75)
Frome: Ballinger (19)

Officials: Referee: Mr M Derrien. Assistants: Mr M Desborough & Mr A Carter.

Attendance: 540.

Monday, 20 February 2012

AFC Totton 3-1 Evesham United, 18/02/12 3pm


It was a year ago this weekend that Totton began life at their new Testwood Stadium home with a 5-1 win over Paulton Rovers in the Zamaretto League South & West Division. A year on, The Stags were hoping to celebrate that anniversary with another 3 points towards achieving promotion for a second successive season.

It's been a while since Totton were last in league action thanks to the Arctic weather conditions over the last few weeks.

Frozen pitches across the country have meant only 2 games in the last 3 weeks for Totton; the 7-2 defeat of AFC Portchester in the Hampshire Senior Cup quarter finals and a 6-1 win over North Greenford United in the Red Insure Cup quarter finals.

In the reverse fixture back in October, Evesham won 1-0 thanks to a Craig Wilding goal, while Totton had Ryan Scott sent off.

New signing Ryan Moss scored a hattrick on his debut in the game against North Greenford and was named in the starting line up for this game in a three-man attack along with Nathaniel Sherborne and Nathan Jack.

There was a place on the bench for new loan signing from Portsmouth, Lewis Stockford, but there was no Michael Charles as the striker has joined former club Farnborough on a one month loan.

It had poured down for an hour or so before kick off and the game started slowly as both teams struggled to cope with the awful conditions.

The driving rain and strong winds played havoc with the ball spending more time in the air than on the pitch for the first 5 minutes or so.

Totton were the first to settle down and play though and on 7 minutes they took the lead. Mike Gosney controlled the ball in midfield and ran to the edge of the box before playing a defence-splitting pass for Nathaniel Sherborne to run onto before rounding the keeper and slotting home.

Evesham responded well to this setback and looked the more likely to score during the remainder of the first half.

They won a free kick shortly after the goal which was comfortably held by Grant Porter and then a 25 yard shot by Evesham's Jack Winter was deflected just wide by Benjamin Pugh,

For all their attacking intent, Evesham were usually restricted to shots from distance by the Totton defence and Josh Quaynor fired wide with a 30 yard strike on 20 minutes.

A minute before half time Totton twice came close to grabbing a second goal against the run of play. Nathan Jack found time and space to shoot but his effort was parried by Daniel Platt in the Evesham goal and the ball was eventually cleared.

Gosney then tested the keeper with a shot from 25 yards out that was saved and pushed out to Ryan Moss, but the new number 9 was flagged for offside.

Half time: AFC Totton 1-0 Evesham United

After the break the game became very scrappy as the weather picked up again after seeming to calm down during half time.

Players were slipping on the wet surface, defenders found it difficult to get the ball away, strikers couldn't find the target and both goalkeepers had very little to do.

Eventually the weather subsided and the improved conditions coincided with the timing of Totton's second goal.

Just after the hour mark Totton got a corner. Nathan Jack played it short to Gosney and his first time cross found Sherborne who got above his marker to head the ball past Platt and into the far corner.

Ryan Hill then stung Platt's palms with a rasping shot from an angle 25 yards out that swerved and had to be pushed behind for a corner.

Evesham had deserved a goal for their efforts during the game, although their goal on 86 minutes was slightly against the run of play.

Quaynor received the ball on the edge of the box and turned Jamie Whisken before running to the by-line and playing a low cross for Henry Eze to slide in ahead of Ross Bottomley and poke it over the line.

The Robins pushed for an equaliser in the last few minutes and their attacking intent left them vulnerable to a counter attack.

Substitute Stefan Brown raced away down the right and, with Platt stranded in the middle of his box, lobbed the ball up and over the helpless goalkeeper and it bounced safely over the line to make certain all 3 points.

Full time: AFC Totton 3-1 Evesham United

1 year on from that first game at the Testwood Stadium against Paulton Rovers, Totton are still pushing for promotion, but this time a division higher. The 3 points from this game keep up the pressure at the top on Brackley, who have played 2 games more than The Stags. Stefan Brown's goal was a mirror image of the goal he scored against Paulton 12 months ago when he lobbed the keeper at the other end and with his opposite foot. If you play the videos of the two goals side by side they should look almost identical.

Next up for Totton is one of our games in hand on Brackley as we travel to Swindon Supermarine who are struggling down in 21st place, 2nd from bottom. Then this weekend, a big game in the promotion race with a trip to Cambridge City, who currently side 3rd, 4 points behind Totton having played 2 games more.

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Whisken, Bottomley, Richardson, Campbell, Pettefer, Gosney, Jack (Davies 81), Moss, Sherborne (Brown 87). Unused subs: Stockford, Knight, Osman.

Evesham United: Platt, Wilson, Tasker, Daniel, Eze, Fitter, Wilding, Pugh (Spencer 80), Palmer, Quaynor. Unused subs: Keen, Clarke.

Totton: Sherborne (7 & 62), Brown (90)
Evesham: Eze (86)

Officials: Referee: Mr R Hulme. Assistants: Mr K Williams & Mr A Fricker.

Attendance: 406.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Cirencester Town 1-2 AFC Totton, 28/01/12 3pm


Totton are still keeping up with Brackley at the top of the league despite not winning away from the Testwood Stadium since mid-November. 3 away defeats on the bounce (Chippenham, Weymouth and Barwell) have put a small dent in The Stags' promotion bid, but the teams around us have also been slipping up so the situation is not as bad it could have been. This time we were away at Cirencester Town. The Centurions are second from bottom and lost 3-0 in the reverse fixture at the Testwood Stadium back in October.

The first real chance of this game fell to Totton after 14 minutes when Mike Gosney's free kick was headed goalwards by Jamie Whisken, but the ball was tipped over the bar by Cirencester keeper Charles Steward.

A few minutes later Gosney had another free kick 20 yards from goal. The Cirencester goal was never in any danger though as the ball cleared not only the crossbar but also the stand behind the goal, which echoed with the disappointed groans of the Totton fans.

Cirencester's first chance came in the 20th minute when Scott Griffin lost his marker and sent a curling left footed shot towards the far corner, but Dan Thomas made a superb diving save to turn the ball behind for a corner.

Griffin was at it again soon after when he found himself in a good position but was thwarted by Thomas who raced off his line to block well and concede a corner.

Nathan Davies had to be replaced by Aiden Bennett just after the half-hour mark after picking up an unfortunate off-the-ball hamstring injury.

Totton were then denied the lead when Nathan Jack's header from Jon Davies' cross looked destined for the back of the net with Steward well beaten, but Andy Gunn and Wayne Turk cleared the ball off the line.

With 2 minutes to go in the first half, Cirencester took the lead against the run of play. James Mortimer-Jones was given too much time and space just outside the box and unleashed a superb long range shot that cannoned off the underside of the crossbar and into the goal with Thomas rooted to the spot.

Half time: Cirencester Town 1-0 AFC Totton

The second half was just a few minutes old when Cirencester had the crossbar to thank for keeping them in front. Gosney swung in another good ball from the left and Scott Claridge inexplicably crashed a header against his own crossbar before the ball was scrambled away from danger.

Jon Davies then worked himself a bit of space in the box and hit a powerful shot that was tipped over the bar at full stretch by Steward.

Totton's dominance finally told just after the hour. Gosney whipped in another low corner towards the near post and Steward got down to parry it, but the ball bounced up kindly for Jamie Whisken who poked it over the line for his first goal of the season to bring The Stags level.

Cirencester didn't let the equaliser get them down and continued to push forward. Jon Else didn't really trouble Thomas with a couple of long range efforts and Scott Griffin headed wide from Lee Smith's cross.

The referee, who didn't exactly endear himself to either set of supporters, management or players then sent Jon Davies off after a second yellow card for talking back to the linesman. Davies was angry as he felt he had been fouled but the linesman flagged in Cirencester's favour.

The sending off didn't seem to affect Totton. If anything, it spurred them on even more. If Barwell could do it with 10 men last week, Totton could do it this week. 

In the 82nd minute, their endeavour paid off. Cirencester failed to deal with a Totton corner and after a bit of pinball in the box, Stefan Brown fired home at the second attempt to send the away fans wild.

Cirencester threatened to bring the scoreline level in the final minutes as Zak Westlake  headed wide from a corner, then Wayne Turk volleyed just wide when a clearance from a corner fell for him on the edge of the box but Totton held firm to claim all 3 points.

Full time: Cirencester Town 1-2 AFC Totton

Totton grabbed their first away win since a 2-1 win at Bedford on November 19th. Some will feel it was a deserved victory as The Stags dominated for most of the game and were slightly aggrieved at the dismissal of Jon Davies and a booking for Ross Bottomley for kicking the ball away, when it wasn't actually him who kicked it. Totton have now done the double over Cirencester who remain second from bottom, now level on points with near neighbours Swindon Supermarine after their 4-3 win at Evesham. Next up for Totton is the rearranged Hampshire Senior Cup quarter final tie at home against AFC Portchester. The winner will be away to Havant & Waterlooville in the semi finals. In the league, our next game is a home match with St Albans City next Saturday.

Cirencester Town: Steward, Claridge, Dunton (Bevan 86), Gunn, Davies (Bennett 32), Westlake, Turk, Mortimer-Jones, Smith (Bryant 75), Griffin, Else. Unused subs: Dunn.

AFC Totton: Thomas, Hill, Whisken, Bottomley, Baddeley, Davies, Campbell, Pettefer, Gosney, Jack, Brown. Subs: Porter, Richardson, Charles, Sherborne, Osman.

Cirencester: Mortimer-Jones (43)
Totton: Whisken (65), Brown (82)

Officials: Referee: Mr B Durie. Assistants: Mr O Ballinger & Mr P Moungarret.

Attendance: 126

Thursday, 19 January 2012

AFC Totton 2-1 Banbury United, 17/01/12 7:45pm


Totton have started to find their feet again after two straight defeats over the new year period. A 3-0 win over Chesham was followed by a victory of the same scoreline against Swindon Supermarine in the Red Insure Cup. A 2-2 draw with Brackley at the weekend made it 3 games unbeaten in all competitions for The Stags now. To extend that run we would have to get something against Brackley's local rivals Banbury United. The Puritans' recent form has been indifferent at best; 2 wins, 2 defeats and 2 draws from their last 6 games. Returning to the Totton starting line up for this game were wingers Mike Gosney and Jon Davies who both started on the bench against Brackley. Salisbury loanee Charlie Knight retained his place at left back, and Ross Bottomley once more took up a central midfield role.

For the first 20 minutes of this game, you could have watched the cars go by on Salisbury Road or gazed at the flocks of crows and jackdaws flying overhead to their night-time roost over by Testwood Lakes.

Anything would have been more interesting to watch than whatever was going on out on the pitch. There were no real chances to speak of for either side and 90% of the play seemed to be going on around the halfway line.

Eventually I had something worth noting down. Ben Thackeray was found with an excellent ball over the defence and the Banbury striker took control of the ball before smashing it into the side netting.

As it turned out, the linesman had raised his flag for offside so it wouldn't have counted if it had gone the right side of the post.

On 27 minutes Totton should really have taken the lead. Mike Gosney was put through on goal by Mark Osman and tried to place his shot in the far corner but the ball went across goal and wide of the post.

With half an hour played, a Banbury cross was headed clear by Jamie Whisken as far as Josh Cole 30 yards out and his first time shot was well wide of the goal.

Totton finally broke the deadlock in the 36th minute. A free kick into the box was headed down by Osman for Michael Charles to control and turn on a sixpence before firing home to give Totton the lead.

Josh Blake was denied an equaliser just before the break by Dan Thomas who dived to his right to push the ball behind for a corner, which was headed wide for a goal kick.

Half time: AFC Totton 1-0 Banbury United

With the second half just 7 minutes old, Banbury capitalised on a defensive mix-up to grab an equaliser.

Jamie Whisken turned to pass the ball back to Thomas in the Totton goal but the pass was intercepted as Blake pounced to get to the ball before Thomas, rounded the keeper and slotted home.

5 minutes later a shot from the edge of the box from Osman was tipped over the bar by Banbury goalkeeper Andy Kemp who appeared to pull his hamstring in the process but carried on.

With 15 minutes remaining Totton regained the lead. A long ball forward fell to Charles who, with his back to goal, flicked the ball up and over his head for Jon Davies to race onto ahead of the defenders and take a touch before placing his shot into the bottom corner.

Shortly after the goal Davies came close again when his curling effort from the corner of the box was just high and wide of the far corner of the goal.

Banbury then wasted a golden opportunity to equalise when Totton lost possession out wide on the left and the ball was crossed into the box for Thackeray, but his shot was straight at Thomas.

With 5 minutes of normal time to go Totton thought they were home and dry. Gosney's corner was headed back across goal by Whisken to Charles who thought he'd scored but his close range header was cleared off the line by the head of Tommy Kinch.

Into added time and Dan Thomas pulled off another excellent save to deny Banbury a point. Substitute Joe Eyre went on a run to the edge of the box and pulled the trigger but Thomas scrambled across goal to get down and tip the ball behind for a corner which came to nothing.

Full time: AFC Totton 2-1 Banbury United

For the first 20 minutes you wouldn't have thought the rest of the game would be so end-to-end. It was a frantic finish to the game after Totton re-took the lead and Banbury may feel they deserved a point from it. Totton are now unbeaten in 4 games in all competitions and we have the chance to extend that further when we visit Barwell on Saturday for our longest away trip of the season. In the home fixture back in September, Barwell were masters of their own downfall. With the score level at 1-1, Barwell wasted copious amounts of time as they seemed happy to settle for a point. The referee played 8 minutes of injury time as a result and Barwell paid the price as Ryan Hill's free kick in the 7th minute of added time won the game for Totton. So yeah, 3pm, Barwell, this Saturday. See you there!

AFC Totton: Thomas, Hill, Whisken, Richardson, Knight, Davies (Campbell 87), Bottomley, Pettefer, Gosney, Osman (Jack 90), Charles (Sherborne 90). Unused subs: Baddeley, Brown.

Banbury United: Kemp, Coleman, Kinch, Dolman, Chilton, Howell (L. Cole 88), Williams, J. Cole, Blake (Fraser 88), Thackeray (Eyre 83), Polk. Unused subs: Lamb.

Totton: Charles (36), Davies (75)
Banbury: Blake (52)

Officials: Referee: Mr A Tranter. Assistants: Mr P Byfield & Mr J Rake.

Attendance: 328.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

AFC Totton 2-2 Brackley Town, 14/01/12 3pm


Totton got back to winning ways last week with a far from comfortable 3-0 win over Chesham United at the Testwood Stadium. Despite going down to 10 men, Chesham were by far the superior side and the scoreline didn't reflect the game at all. Still, 3 points on the board after two straight defeats and now we could move on to what was being billed as the biggest game of the season in the Southern Premier League. 2nd v 1st at the top of the table as Totton hosted Brackley Town. In the reverse fixture back in September, Totton won 3-0. Like the Chesham game last week, the scoreline flattered Totton and we should have been about 4-0 down at half time. Never mind though, eh? This is a results business, forget the "what if"s and the "should have"s. On loan Salisbury left back Charlie Knight started this one, as did Dan Thomas is goal and central defender Ross Bottomley in midfield.

Totton only managed one shot on target in the first 10 minutes of this game. As it happens though, this shot went in.

From the kick off, a long ball forward was headed on by Nathaniel Sherborne and the ball fell for Michael Charles who, from a tight angle just outside the box, expertly lobbed the ball up and over Brackley keeper Billy Turley and over the line to give Totton the lead after just 14 SECONDS.

Brackley responded well to this early setback and steadied the ship after a couple more half-chances for Totton.

A foul by Nathan Campbell provided Brackley the opportunity to work Dan Thomas in the Totton goal with a free kick 25 yards out.

Instead, the on-loan Bournemouth keeper almost got a crick in his neck as he watched the ball soar a mile over his crossbar.

Brackley's Josh Green picked up a booking for a foul on Sherborne out wide on the right and gave Totton the chance to put another good ball into the box.

Ryan Hill did just that and caused panic at the far post where the ball was eventually headed behind by Carl Palmer for a corner.

Michael Charles was soon in on goal again, despite protests for offside by the Brackley defence. Their preference to stand around disputing it allowed Charles to race clear and get one on one with Turley but his rising shot was a whisker wide of the post.

With 5 minutes to go until half time, Brackley scored a fortuitous but deserved equaliser.

Elliot Sandy collected the ball out near the corner flag and cut inside before firing in a goal almost identical to the one Mike Gosney scored against Bashley on Boxing Day as the ball flew through a packed penalty area and into the far corner of the net.

Totton almost regained the lead straight away when Ryan Hill's low, hard cross was met by Ian Richardson at the near post but he could only manage to poke the ball an inch wide of the post with the goal at his mercy.

Half time: AFC Totton 1-1 Brackley Town

The Stags nearly began the second half the way they did in the first half. Ryan Hill's long ball forward was flicked on by Sherborne's header but this time Turley beat Charles to the ball.

With just over an hour played, Brackley completed the turn-around as they took the lead against Totton for the first time this season.

A cross from the right was headed back across goal and Glenn Walker scored with a powerful header which Thomas stretched for but couldn't get to as he was moving in the opposite direction.

The balance of power had quickly shifted to Brackley and they nearly extended their lead when a shot across goal rolled just wide of the far post with no one able to get the touch that would have turned it in.

But just as it looked as if the away side would go on to stamp their authority on the game, Totton equalised with a rather untidy looking goal.

Ross Bottomley did well to control the ball on the edge of the box before playing a precise through ball for substitute Mike Gosney to run on to.

Gosney fizzed a low cross into the box and an initial shot from somewhere in the crowd of bodies was blocked on the line by Turley and bounced back into the melee. Eventually the net bulged as Mark Osman, also fresh off the bench, stabbed the ball under Turley and over the line.

The travelling Brackley support were soon cheering again when a header from a corner appeared to have given them the lead once more, but their glee was cut short as Jamie Whisken made a superb acrobatic overhead clearance on the line.

With seconds remaining, Totton had the chance to snatch all 3 points. A free kick was awarded 30 yards from goal and Ryan Hill stood over it. His long range effort wasn't far wide of the right hand post and the referee blew the whistle shortly after the resulting goal kick.

Full time: AFC Totton 2-2 Brackley Town

What a topsy-turvy game that was! Totton scored the fastest goal of the season after just 14 seconds. There were still one or two stragglers making their way through the turnstiles when the ball crossed the line. Brackley were always a threat and it was clear to see why they are top of the league. But if Totton can take advantage of our three games in hand, The Saints might not be top for much longer. It was a typical top-of-the-table clash at any level, with both sides cancelling each other out at times and in the end a point apiece was a fair result. Also, if you'd asked me before the game, I'd have snatched your hand off for a point from this game. Next up for Totton is the visit of Brackley's near neighbours Banbury United on Tuesday evening for a 7:45pm kick off.

AFC Totton: Thomas, Hill, Whisken, Richardson, Knight, Pettefer (Davies 70), Campbell, Bottomley, Jack (Gosney 65), Charles (Osman 61), Sherborne. Unused subs: Baddeley, Brown.

Brackley TownTurley, Clifton, Nisevic, Palmer, J. Green (Kemp 17), Marshall, Story, Solkhon, Sandy, Louis, Walker. Unused Subs : Myles, Magunda, W. Green, Diggin.

Totton: Charles (1), Osman (72)
Brackley: Sandy (40), Walker (64)

Officials: Referee: Mr M Derrien. Assistants: Mr A Baker & Mr P Knight.

Attendance: 654.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Transfer News: Knight Rides In

AFC Totton have completed the signing of Charlie Knight from Salisbury City on loan until the end of the season.

Knight, 24, can play anywhere down the left side, in defence or midfield. He has had two spells at Salisbury either side of a stint with Bashley, and will be an excellent addition to the Totton squad.

Knight was an 81st minute substitute in Salisbury's FA Cup 3rd Round defeat at Sheffield United in January.

Ritch Reward

AFC Totton manager Stuart Ritchie has signed a new 2 and a half year deal with the club to remain as manager until at least the end of the 2013/14 season.

The news comes after weeks of local media reports that Ritchie was close to agreeing a new contract. The former Aston Villa and Crewe Alexandra midfielder has been in charge at Totton since 2004 and the new contract will take him up to a decade at the helm.

There has been recent speculation that Ritchie was being looked at by clubs in higher divisions as he spoke of his desire to achieve bigger things.

Back in December Ritchie told the Southern Daily Echo: "I'm ambitious to go higher and I've proved my credibility as a manager. The idea of talking to the club is to see what they're thinking, weigh up my options and take it from there."

There was never any suggestion that Ritchie was looking to leave Totton after seven success-filled seasons, but with his contract due to expire at the end of the current season, he wanted assurances that the club's ambitions matched his own.

Under the management of Ritchie and his assistant Sean New, Totton have improved their league position every single season since the pair took over back in 2004. From mid-table obscurity in the Wessex League, Totton have risen to the dizzy heights of 2nd in the Southern Premier League ahead of this weekend's top-of-the-table clash against current league leaders Brackley Town.

As well as the incredible rise up through the leagues, including 2 promotions, Ritchie's tenure has also seen the club win the Hampshire Senior Cup twice, play in the FA Vase final in front of a crowd of over 32,000 at the New Wembley Stadium, reach the 2nd round of the FA Cup having never even qualified for the first round before, play against a league side for the first time and play in a live televised game for the first time.

Here's to more success in the not-too-distant future for Totton and Stuart!