Friday, 30 December 2011

A Look Back At 2011

2011. It's been a fantastic year for AFC Totton. Full of lots of ups and very few downs, if any.

The club began the year in the Zamaretto League South & West Division, and will finish it in the rebranded Evo-Stik Southern League Premier Division vying for promotion to the Blue Square Bet South (Conference South).  It's a lot of sponsorship to get through, I know. It don't half make it a chore to read and, for me, write.

League winner's shield
2011 has seen The Mighty Stags win the South & West Division title, the Hampshire Senior Cup (for the second year running), and the Zamaretto Southern League Fair Play Trophy. There were also individual honours for Mike Gosney (Southern League Golden Boot with 36 goals) and Michael Charles (Hampshire Senior Cup Golden Boot with 6 goals). As well as this, Totton's new Testwood Stadium home was awarded the trophy for 'Best New Non-League Ground in England'.

The Testwood Stadium. There's something we can talk about. The new ground is a significant chapter in the club's history. Having played at Testwood Park since 1933, the club played their first game at the Testwood Stadium on the 19th of February 2011, christening the new turf with a 5-1 win over Paulton Rovers. Mike Gosney had the honour of scoring the first ever goal at the new ground, albeit in slightly unusual circumstances, as his 7th minute corner went straight into the net off the keeper.

The new home of AFC Totton: Testwood Stadium

In fact, if it weren't for a matter of a few inches, I wouldn't even be talking about the new ground in this article as it would have been opened in 2010. The club should have moved into the new ground a few months earlier than they did, but the pitch was made slightly smaller than FA rules and regulations would allow them to play on. A few blades of grass later, we were good to go.

Anyway, after the 5-1 victory over Paulton Rovers, Totton went on to win 10 of their remaining 13 games of the season, culminating in a 1-0 win against Gosport Borough at Privett Park on the final day of the season to clinch the league title. The Totton fans behind the goal spilled onto the pitch at the sound of the referee's full time whistle to celebrate with the players and a few bottles of bubbly!
Totton fans swarm onto the pitch after winning the league
With the league campaign behind them, Totton's season ended with the Hampshire Senior Cup final at St Mary's Stadium, home of Southampton FC. The club had won the trophy the previous season, beating Aldershot Town 4-0 in the final at AFC Bournemouth's Dean Court. This time the opposition was Sholing. The Southampton based team were looking for revenge after losing out to Totton in the title race.

Sholing took the lead with a cracking goal from Lee Wort from about 20 yards. Totton equalised just before half time when Mike Gosney's free kick was turned in by Michael Charles and then Gosney gave The Stags the lead less than a minute after the restart with a thunderous strike from the edge of the box that hit the roof of the net. Charles made sure of victory in added time with a cool finish under the keeper. Full time: AFC Totton 3-1 Sholing.

The Totton players celebrate winning the Hampshire Senior Cup

So Totton retained the Hampshire Senior Cup having only won it for the first time the previous season, thus completing a thoroughly impressive league and cup double. The Southern Premier League awaited Totton, while Sholing were left to fight another year in the South & West Division after losing the play-off final 1-0 to Frome Town who subsequently joined Totton in the Southern Premier.

The Hampshire Senior Cup final marked the end of Michael Green's Totton career as the talented left back, 22, was signed on a free transfer by League Two side Port Vale. Other players to leave Totton in the summer of '11 were young winger Tom Price who went to Poole Town, and midfielder Ryan Scott who was forced to retire through injury.

As for signings, in came left back Tom Baddeley, versatile defender Matt Oldring, right back Ryan Hill (returning for a second spell at Totton), and midfielder James Coutts. The club also signed winger David Abe after he impressed in a pre-season win away at Romsey Town. However, since that day, no one has seen or heard anything of him. It's as if he has just vanished off the face of the Earth...

Pre-season went pretty well for Totton. After a bland 1-1 draw away at Blackfield & Langley in a game made up entirely of reserve players, youth players and trialists, Totton welcomed a Southampton under-21 side to the Testwood Stadium. Amongst the young ranks of the Saints was contract rebel Jason Puncheon. The midfielder wanted to leave St Mary's, with Rangers, QPR and Millwall amongst those interested. So he was probably with the youth team players as punishment for his shenanigans.

Southampton won 1-0 thanks to Andy Robinson's first half goal. So Jason Puncheon, a player that had scored in the Premier League against Everton and Chelsea on loan at Blackpool last season, was kept at bay by the Totton defence. Going by this evidence, we can conclude that Jamie Whisken, Ian Richardson and Grant Porter are better than John Terry, David Luiz and Petr Cech.

Who needs 'em?
Totton went the rest of pre-season unbeaten (not including the Linden Homes Tournament were an under-strength side lost 1-0 to Thatcham Town). Wins over Farnborough (3-2), Romsey Town (4-1) and Winchester City (2-1), and a 2-2 draw with Salisbury City, made for a pretty successful pre-season programme.

The first game of the season was away at Arlesey Town who, like Totton, were promoted to the Southern Premier last season, winning the Central Division. Being at the same level as Totton the season before, Arlesey were a bit of an unknown quantity. Would the two teams be evenly matched or would one outshine the other? The answer came at full time as Totton won 2-0.

After that though, the real test began. These were now all teams which were established at this level. How would Totton shape up against these teams? Could they compete at this level? Evidently, they could. After beating Arlesey, Totton swept aside Oxford City (6-0), Swindon Supermarine (4-0) and Hemel Hempstead Town (3-0). 4 games into the season and The Stags were top of the table with a record of: Won 4, scored 15, conceded 0.
Lovely weather for it. Totton v Swindon Supermarine.
However, all good things must come to an end and Totton came back down to Earth with a bump as they went down 2-1 away at Leamington despite taking the lead. After this though, Totton won their next 4 games including impressive victories over former Conference side Weymouth and St Albans City who had played in the Conference South the season before.

8 of Totton's next 13 games were cup games of one form or another. Fleet Town (2-0), Clevedon Town (2-1), Weymouth (again) (4-2) and Hanworth Villa (3-2) were all dispatched in Qualifying Rounds on the way to achieving the club's first ever appearance in the FA Cup First Round Proper. The Clevedon game marked Ryan Scott's surprise return from football retirement after it turned out that his injury was not as bad as originally feared. Scott made an immediate impact, scoring the winning goal (well okay, it was an own goal, but it was his shot that caused it), against Clevedon.

The Stags were paired with Northern Premier League side Bradford Park Avenue in the FA Cup First Round Proper and many expected a tight affair with no team really standing out as clear favourites. As it turned out, Totton made all sorts of history as they demolished Bradford 8-1 to set up a Second Round tie against League Two Bristol Rovers on December 4th. They became the first post-war non-league side to score 8 in the FA Cup Proper Rounds, Stefan Brown came off the bench to score the fastest hat-trick by a substitute in the history of the FA Cup, it was Bradford PA's biggest ever defeat in the competition and a record crowd of 2,315 packed into the Testwood Stadium for the match. You can see all the goals from the game in the video below.

Totton played Weymouth (again!) in the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy in October but went down 3-2. But enough about Weymouth, we've got them to come (AGAIN!!!) in the away league fixture in January. (Cosmic). Let's get back to the FA Cup, and the small matter of Totton's first ever competitive fixture against Football League opposition.

The game was televised live on ITV1 and all the big names were there to cover it. Adrian Chiles, Gareth Southgate and Andy Townsend graced the humble surroundings of the Testwood Stadium to present, talk about and analyse the game, while up in the gantry Clive Tyldesley and Jim Beglin were the commentators. There haven't been names that big at Totton since Iain Brunnschweiler.

Gold dust.
Unfortunately for Totton, the cup dream was shattered within 13 minutes as Rovers scored 3 of the best goals you will see all year. Bristol made it 4-0 before Nathaniel Sherborne sent the Stag Army wild with a headed goal from Tom Baddeley's cross. Chants of "We're gonna win 5-4!" were quickly altered to "We're gonna win 6-5!" as the League Two outfit scored a minute later before going on to win 6-1. A sad way to end the cup run, but Totton could be proud of a fantastic achievement and look forward to a more quiet night away at Fareham in the Hampshire Senior Cup 3rd Round the following Tuesday! It didn't do the club coffers any harm either.

After beating Fareham 4-1, it was back to league action for Totton after what seemed like a lifetime of cup game after cup game. A 2-0 win over Hemel Hempstead completed the league double over The Tudors after the 3-0 away win earlier in the season. The Stags also ensured they were unbeaten against Oxford City this season (6-0 in the home fixture) with a 2-2 draw after a dramatic last gasp Ryan Hill equaliser. 
Class of 2011
With everyone slightly hungover and feeling as stuffed as the turkeys they'd eaten the day before, a crowd of 577 watched Totton play Bashley on Boxing Day in this season's local derby. The two clubs are separated by just 13 miles of New Forest and met for the first time in league competition for over 20 years. The Stags triumphed 2-0 in their penultimate game of 2011.

A trip to Wiltshire to play Chippenham Town on New Year's Eve is all that remains now for Totton. 12 months ago, The Stags began 2011 with a 4-1 away win against Wimborne Town on January 3rd. Can they end the calendar year the way they started it? You'll find out later.

So there you have it. A pretty darn good year for AFC Totton, wouldn't you say? League title, promotion, the county cup, a fantastic FA Cup run, and all sorts of records broken. The Stags' league record (not including Chippenham on New Year's Eve) in the calendar year 2011 reads like this:

Played: 44. Won: 34. Drawn: 3. Lost: 7. For: 123. Against: 33. GD: +90. Points: 105.

Onward into 2012, where promotion to the Conference South is up for grabs and Mark Osman celebrates his testimonial after 10 years at Totton. Here's to another prosperous year for The Mighty Stags.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

AFC Totton 2-0 Bashley, 26/12/11 1pm


After a last minute draw at Oxford City last time out, Totton were hoping for a slightly easier ride in this Boxing Day derby clash against Bashley. Ryan Hill scored with nearly the last kick of the game to rescue a point against Oxford for only our second draw of the season. Bashley were undone by 2 second half goals as they lost 2-1 at Weymouth in their previous game.

Bashley made the stronger start to the game and with just 40 seconds on the clock Mark Gamble forced a corner after his shot was blocked by Ian Richardson. Totton dealt with the corner and set up a counter attack as Nathaniel Sherborne was released down the left flank, but as he made his way towards the box there were no other Totton players up with him so he had no choice but to have a go at goal himself and his effort was blocked and went behind for a corner.

A foul on Carl Pettefer in the centre circle resulted in Jamie Whisken launching a long free kick into the Bashley box. The Bash defence cleared the danger but Totton came straight back at them and Michael Charles managed to squeeze through the back line but his shot was high and wide.

Bashley were quite physical in their approach and they conceded another free kick out wide on the right when Jon Davies was fouled. Mike Gosney swung the ball into the box but it evaded everyone and went straight into Tommy Smith's arms.

Soon though, Bashley were made to pay for the physical nature of their play when a foul on Sherborne resulted in a free kick 35 yards out. Ryan Hill fired the ball through the packed penalty area without anyone getting a touch on it and it crept past the keeper and into the bottom corner to give Totton the lead.

Bashley came back at Totton in search of a quick equaliser and 3 minutes after the goal a corner to the far post was headed back across goal and Grant Porter commanded his area well to come off his line and punch the ball clear.

With nearly half an hour played Bashley were denied by Porter again. From a long throw-in, James Stokoe's looping header was caught on the line by Porter. Then after some pinball in the Totton box a Bashley player, (it was hard to tell who), fired wide of the left-hand post.

Bashley pair James Stokoe and Jack Smith picked up a booking each for a foul on Scott Sampson and kicking the ball away respectively. Those bookings, and a couple of half chances for both sides, made up the remainder of the first half.

Half time: AFC Totton 1-0 Bashley

60 seconds after the restart Totton fashioned another chance for themselves when Gosney played in Sherborne who timed his run well to beat the offside trap. He ran to the by-line and crossed for Michael Charles whose shot was deflected behind.

From the resulting corner The Stags doubled their lead. Gosney took it short, playing a one-two with Jon Davies before taking a touch and rifling a shot into the bottom corner. The ball came through a group of players in the box which made it difficult for Bash goalkeeper Tommy Smith to see it until it was too late.

Bashley didn't lie down and roll over though, and they could have pulled one back on 52 minutes. A cross from Bash skipper Dave Allen was turned goalwards by Ian Oliver but the effort was deflected wide for a corner by Jamie Whisken.

Liam Green delivered the corner to the near post where Luke Whitley controlled the ball and volleyed it towards the top corner where a magnificent acrobatic save from Grant Porter prevented the back of the net from bulging.

Mark Gamble then beat the Totton offside trap but should have done better as his weak effort was straight at Porter. Gamble was booked a minute later for a foul on Matt Oldring.

Bashley continued to go forward in search of a goal and their policy of committing lots of players to attack left them susceptible to counter attacks. Totton should maybe have had a penalty when Luke Whitley sent Sherborne tumbling in the box with a mistimed tackle but the referee waved play on much to the anger of the Totton fans in the stand near to where the incident occurred.

Totton almost trebled the advantage with 8 minutes to go when Gosney's cross was too long but substitute Stefan Brown did well to hook it back across the box to the penalty spot where Sherborne attempted an overhead effort that wasn't far over the crossbar.

Full time: AFC Totton 2-0 Bashley

Bashley may have been beaten but they were by no means second best in a contest that was even in almost every department except the one that matters: Goals. Totton weren't at their best but two long range goals that could have been described more as half-chances were enough to get them back to winning ways in the league. Next up for The Stags is Chippenham Town away on New Year's Eve.

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Whisken, Richardson, Sampson (Oldring 48), Davies, Pettefer, Campbell, Gosney, Sherborne (Jack 83), Charles (Brown 66). Unused subs: Sturgess, Osman.

Bashley: Tommy Smith, Jack Smith (Vokes 85), Oliver (Foster 89), Middleton, Whitley, Finlay, Gillespie, Allen, Green (Penny 67), Stokoe, Gamble. Unused subs: Gazzard, Prodomo.

Totton: Hill (12), Gosney (47).

Officials: Referee: Mr S Tomlinson. Assistants: Mr S Wade & Mr G Skillen.

Attendance: 577.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Transfer News: James Coutts

Totton midfielder James Coutts has rejoined former club Weymouth FC on a one month loan.

Coutts has found games hard to come by for The Stags this season with Carl Pettefer and Ryan Scott playing very well together in the centre of midfield, so has gone to his hometown club for some first team action and will hopefully return ready to fight for a place in the Totton team.

The former Dorchester Town midfielder has made 19 appearances in all competitions for Totton so far this season, 11 in the league and 8 in cup matches, with most of them coming off the bench. He has scored 4 goals this season, with all 4 coming in cup competitions. He scored a hattrick in the 2nd round Hampshire Senior Cup tie with Cove in October, and the only goal, a superb 20 yard volley, in the 1-0 Red Insure Cup victory over Poole Town in November.

Meanwhile, Coutts may get a chance in the first team on his return from loan as central midfielder Ryan Scott will be out for a few weeks as he requires an operation on a groin injury.

Oxford City 2-2 AFC Totton, 17/12/11 3pm


There was a pitch inspection the morning of the day of this game. Thankfully it was passed and the game could go ahead as planned. Oxford City are doing very nicely in the league so far this season, and are level on points with Totton. If you were at the reverse fixture at the Testwood Stadium back in August you might find that a bit hard to believe, as Totton triumphed 6-0 that day. The Stags brushed Oxford aside with relative ease and notched up their biggest league win of the season so far. But Oxford have pushed on from that freak result and are now a real contender at the top of the table.

Oxford made all the early running without really testing Grant Porter. Totton soon got themselves into the game with Tom Baddeley and Mike Gosney linking up well down the left on a few occasions to put crosses into the box. Totton won a free kick, but Gosney was denied by Oxford goalkeeper Jason Mooney. Michael Charles then came close from another set piece a his header was just over the bar.

Oxford came back at Totton on 15 minutes when Adam Learoyd sent a header straight at Porter, and then good play from Darren Pond and Liam Malone resulted in an Andy Ballard long throw-in that was scuffed wide by Pond.

A minute later though, Oxford's pressure paid off. Lee Steele won a throw-in off Tom Baddeley and Ballard was the one to launch it into the box once again. This time the ball fell for Steele in a penalty box that more resembled a quagmire, but the mud stopped the ball from bouncing and Wayne Blossom reacted swiftly to drive a shot across goal and into the bottom corner.

Totton reacted well to falling behind and a cross from Gosney almost resulted in an equaliser but Nathaniel Sherborne's effort was just wide of the post. Oxford replied when Michael Lyon crossed for Pond to head the ball down for Steele but his shot on the volley was held comfortably by Porter. 

Totton then hit Oxford on the counter attack when a solid but fair tackle by Jamie Whisken set up Ryan Hill to charge forward but he was eventually brought to a halt by a foul on the edge of the box. Gosney stepped up again but fired the free kick over the bar. 

After a period of scrappy play from both sides, Totton grabbed an equaliser on the break. A long ball down the right from Hill was headed away by Blossom but the ball got bogged down on the muddy surface and Michael Charles collected the loose ball and ran to the by-line. He managed to get goal-side of the defender marking him and shot across goal. Mooney got down to push it away but the ball fell to Sherborne who planted a first time shot into the far corner.

After surviving a couple of Totton corners, Oxford went on the counter attack before winning a free kick on the right flank. Marvin Martin swung the ball over to the far post and it was knocked back across goal to Lee Steele who fired home first time into the far corner for the half time lead.

Half time: Oxford City 2-1 AFC Totton

Totton came out fighting in the second half and Gosney got in behind the defence only to find Mooney with his cross. Oxford found it difficult to beat the Totton defence, with balls over the top being dealt with comfortably by  Jamie Whisken and Ian Richardson. 

Totton didn't make the most of their chances though, with the ball too often ending up going behind for a goal kick after good goalscoring opportunities had been created.Felipe Barcelos came on to replace Michael Lyon and almost made an immediate impact when he beat the Totton offside trap and ran clear but was unable to get a shot on goal before the defence got back to halt his progress. 

Totton came back again and Carl Pettefer crossed for Michael Charles who headed wide from a good position and moments later Ryan Hill's free kick was tipped around the post by Mooney's acrobatic dive.

Oxford's substitutions seemed to be paying off and when Alex Fisher replaced Declan Benjamin he appeared to be in on goal but was halted by the offside flag, and seconds later he forced Porter into an excellent save when his curling effort was deflected and the keeper had to correct his footing to make the stop.

Totton were well on top for long periods of the second half and even Porter was hitting regular long balls into the City penalty area as they searched for a second equaliser. Oxford just couldn't get the ball clear and, whenever they did, it came straight back at them.

As the game moved into added time, Totton won two corners in quick succession but both were comfortably held by Mooney. A low cross then skidded across the face of goal without anyone getting a touch on it and a couple more crosses ended up on the roof of the stand, drawing frustrated groans from the travelling Stag Army behind the goal. 

Mooney then did well to back-track and get a hand on Nathan Campbell’s looping header and tip it behind for another corner. From the corner, a clearance fell kindly for Sherborne and he thought he'd scored when his shot seemed destined for the back of the net when Mooney dived far to his right to make an almost impossible save to touch it behind for yet another Totton corner.

The ball was delivered for the umpteenth corner of the game and, from a position similar to Sherborne's chance seconds earlier, Ryan Hill smashed a volley past Mooney’s dive and into the top corner before being mobbed by his team mates and sparking scenes of delirium from the Totton fans.

Full time: Oxford City 2-2 AFC Totton

For the second time in a week, Oxford were denied all 3 points by a last minute equaliser, having done the same against Chesham in midweek. For Totton, it was a well deserved point and, were it not for Jason Mooney in the Oxford goal, we could have won this one quite comfortably. Our next game is not until Boxing Day (Monday 26th Dec) when we play Bashley at the Testwood Stadium in our local derby this season. Hopefully you won't all have eaten too much to drag yourself to the game or drank too much to form a coherent sentence! Merry Christmas everyone!

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Richardson, Whisken, Baddeley (Sampson 81), Campbell, Pettefer, Gosney, Brown, Sherborne, Charles. Unused subs: Casey, Sturgess, McKie, Jack.

Oxford City: Mooney, Blossom, Learoyd, Ballard, Pond, Wilmott, Lyon (Barcelos 52), Malone, Benjamin (Fisher 66), Steele, Martin. Unused subs: Fleet, McLoughlin, Heapy.

Oxford: Blossom (15), Steele (45)
Totton: Sherborne (34), Hill (90)

Officials: Referee: Mr M Foley. Assistants: Mr P Andrew & Mr A Hickham.

Attendance: 243.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Bedford Town 1-2 AFC Totton, 19/11/11 3pm


On the back of Totton's 3-1 win away at Frome Town in midweek, we travelled to Bedford for the 3rd away league game in a row. A goal from Mark Osman and a Stefan Brown brace got Totton back to winning ways in the league in that game. Bedford lost their last game 1-0 at home against Hemel Hempstead Town.

Bedford had the first real chance to score after 7 minutes when a header from a corner was cleared off the line by Jon Davies. 2 minutes later Davies was doing the business at the other end of the pitch. Nathaniel Sherborne got away from the defender marking him to race away down the left. His cross was just behind Stefan Brown but Davies was running on to meet it and his shot across goal wasn't far wide.

With a quarter of an hour gone Totton threatened again. Mike Gosney's cross from the by-line towards the far post was headed back across goal by Davies but the ball was cleared. Bedford were then denied by Grant Porter when he held a powerful header from a corner.

Just past the half-hour mark Totton came close once more. Gosney crossed to Sherborne and his header was parried by Bedford keeper Ian Brown. The ball came back to Stefan Brown whose shot was blocked, and the ball finally landed at the feet of Sherborne who dragged his shot wide.

Totton finally made the breakthrough on 37 minutes. Sherborne had a shot blocked and as he chased the rebound he was brought down by Bedford defender Gavin Hoyte. A familiar sight for Stags fans this season, the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty and Gosney duly obliged by finding the bottom corner, despite Ian Brown getting both hands on the shot as it found it's way in.

With the half time whistle imminent, both sides came close to getting the second goal of the game. First, Bedford saw a header go over the bar from a corner, then Totton were denied by Ian Brown when Gosney broke through the defence.

Half time: Bedford Town 0-1 AFC Totton

The fans barely had time to blink at the start of the second half before Bedford grabbed an equaliser. Jermaine Hall collected the ball on the edge of the box and slammed a hard, low shot across goal and into the bottom corner.

Bedford were only on level terms for 10 minutes before goalkeeper Ian Brown brought down Gosney in the box and Totton were awarded yet another penalty. Gosney, having won the penalty, dusted himself down to send Brown the wrong way and restore The Stags' advantage.

Before too long, Bedford were level again. Or so they thought. Grant Porter was beaten by a shot through a packed penalty area that was destined for the back of the net before an offside Bedford player, for some reason, decided to have the last touch on the ball to help it over the line. The home fans' celebrations were short-lived.

With 15 minutes remaining, Carl Pettefer shot wide from the edge of the box. Bedford then saw an effort whistle past the post as they searched for an equaliser that just wouldn't materialise. Gosney came close to extending Totton's lead when his 25-yard free kick was narrowly wide of the post 10 minutes from time.

As the clock ticked down, Totton tried to waste time by holding the ball in the corner and won a succession of throw-ins and corners that they used to waste a bit more time. When the ball eventually found itself in the box, Stefan Brown tried his luck from a difficult angle and his shot was closer than it looked as it flew wide.

Bedford then went up the other end and won a free kick which was headed wide as they looked to punish Totton's time-wasting tactics with a late leveller. The equaliser never came though, and Totton could have put the result beyond doubt late on when substitute Mark Osman broke through the Bedford defence, but Ian Brown raced off his lane to block the shot and turn it behind for a corner, which came to nothing.

Full time: Bedford Town 1-2 AFC Totton

This was a hard-earned victory for Totton who seemed to start trying to run down the clock a tad too early and could have paid the price as Bedford threw everything at them in the last 10 minutes. The Stags have been awarded 10 penalties already this season, including the 2 in this game, scoring 9 and missing only one in the 4-0 league win over Swindon Supermarine. From 3 away league games in a row, Totton have got 7 points out of 9 with a 0-0 draw at Redditch, a 3-1 win at Frome and today's 2-1 win. Our next game is Tuesday 22nd November at home against Poole Town in the Red Insure Cup 2nd round, where a limited number of vouchers to get a ticket for the FA Cup game against Bristol Rovers will be distributed to those attending the game.

Bedford Town: Brown, Cooper, Simpson, Darby, Hoyte, Thorne, Price (Damon 83), York, Hall, Roberts, Cole. Unused subs: Ivy, Ekins, Kavanagh.

AFC Totton: Porter, Sampson, Richardson, Campbell, Baddeley, Davies (McKie 89), Pettefer, Scott (Whisken 64), Gosney, Sherborne (Osman 77), Brown. Unused subs: Coutts, Jack.

Bedford: Hall (46)
Totton: Gosney (37 pen, 56 pen)

Officials: Referee: Mr S Rea. Assistants: Mr A Stevens & Mr I Jempeji.

Attendance: 255.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Man of The Match vs Bradford Park Avenue

You've voted in your thousands (tens). The votes have been tallied. The results are in. And I can reveal that you chose as your man of the match against Bradford PA, Stags left back Tom Baddeley! *Fanfare*

Baddeley had a superb game against Bradford, being a threat going forward and solid in defence, with his passing setting up a few counter attacks. Despite making FA Cup history, with the fastest substitute hat-trick of all time in the competition, Stefan Brown came second in the vote. In third place was wing wizard Mike Gosney who scored twice against Bradford, including a trademark penalty.

Man of the Match Results

1st: Tom Baddeley - 39%
2nd: Stefan Brown - 33%
3rd: Mike Gosney - 9%

Monday, 14 November 2011

FA Cup 1st Round Proper: AFC Totton 8-1 Bradford (Park Avenue), 12/11/11 3pm


Totton defeated Hanworth Villa 3-2 in the 4th Qualifying Round of the FA Cup to set up a First Round Proper tie against Bradford Park Avenue. Bradford play in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division, the same level as our Southern Premier Division.

This is new territory for Totton, having never progressed further than the 4th qualifying round before. Avenue were a bit of an unknown entity to Totton, as Totton probably were to Avenue, and both sides have similar records in their respective leagues this season, so it was almost impossible to predict the outcome of this game, and no one expected the result that followed.....

The game started at quite a pace with both sides having half-chances to open the scoring early on. Michael Charles attempted a chip over John Lamb but his effort bounced wide of the post, while Richard Marshall had a shot cleared from almost off the line by Nathan Campbell.

But Marshall made it an uphill struggle for Bradford on 11 minutes after getting a straight red card for shoving Tom Baddeley to the ground as he was getting to his feet following a fair challenge to win the ball.

2 minutes later Totton made the extra man count by opening the scoring. Michael Charles flicked the ball on for Jon Davies to shoot from a tight angle and the ball squeezed under Avenue keeper John Lamb.

With almost half an hour gone, Nathaniel Sherborne burst into the box before being sent flying by the combined efforts of Amjad Iqbal and Ross Daly, and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Fresh back from suspension, spot-kick specialist Mike Gosney stepped up to send Lamb the wrong way.

2-0 to The Stags, and seemingly comfortable. Not necessarily. From the restart, Bradford won a free kick out wide on the left. Martin Drury swung the ball into the box and when Grant Porter failed to deal with it, Adam Clayton was unmarked at the back post to poke the ball home and halve the deficit.

The score didn't stay the same for very long though as Michael Charles restored the 2-goal advantage a minute later when he met Sherborne's low ball across the face of goal to stab home at the far post.

Half time: AFC Totton 3-1 Bradford Park Avenue

The second half was just 7 minutes old when Gosney scored his 2nd and Totton's 4th to just about put the result beyond doubt. Jon Davies crossed from the left and Gosney was on hand to steer the ball past Lamb from just a few yards out.

When Stefan Brown came off the bench to replace Michael Charles on 56 minutes, no one had any idea he was about to write himself into the FA Cup history books.

In the 64th minute Gosney drove forward into the box, nutmegging Adam Clayton on the way, before crossing for Brown to slide in and divert the ball into an unguarded net.

As the teams walked back for the restart, Martin Drury, who had already been booked, had a few words too many to say to the referee and was shown a second yellow, closely followed by the red, to reduce Bradford to 9 men.

Rather than sitting back and being content with their commanding 5-1 lead, Totton went up a gear. Mark Osman, also on as a substitute, battled for possession on the right wing, won the ball and ran to the by-line before delivering a low cross to Brown and he swept the ball past Lamb for 6-1.

Then from a long ball out from the back, Osman leapt to get his head on the ball and Brown got to it before Lamb, who had rushed out of his goal, to stick out a foot and flick the ball into the empty goal to complete the fastest hat-trick by a substitute in FA Cup history.

Totton weren't finished there, however, and Davies put the cherry on the icing on the cake with a composed finish in added time to round off the biggest post-war win by a non-league side in the FA Cup proper rounds.

Full time: AFC Totton 8-1 Bradford Park Avenue

It was a day of records for Totton. The most goals scored by a non-league side in the FA Cup proper rounds this side of the war, the fastest hat-trick by a substitute ever in the FA Cup, Bradford's biggest ever defeat in the competition and our biggest crowd at the Testwood Stadium (2,315). Oh, and if reaching the 1st round proper for the first time in our history wasn't good enough, we're into the 2nd round! And if THAT wasn't good enough, we were drawn at home again for the 2nd round, this time against NPower League Two side Bristol Rovers. Lovely jubbly!

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Whisken, Campbell, Baddeley, Davies, Scott (Richardson 75), Pettefer, Gosney, Sherborne (Osman 66), Charles (Brown 56). Unused subs: Casey, Lewis, Oldring, Coutts.

Bradford Park Avenue: Lamb, Drury, Riley, Clayton, O'Brien, Iqbal, Daley (Deacey 46), Hotte, Boshell (Beadle 23), Marshall, Greaves (Ahmed 68). Unused subs: Lydon, Knowles, Duckworth, Law.

Totton: Davies (13, 90), Gosney (29 pen, 52), Charles (32), Brown (64, 74, 79)
Bradford: Clayton (30)

Officials: Referee: Mr K Johnson. Assistants: Mr D Jacecko & Mr D Richardson. Fourth Official: Mr M Rushton.

Attendance: 2,315.

Monday, 17 October 2011

FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round: AFC Totton 4-2 Weymouth, 15/10/11 3pm


After seeing off Clevedon Town in the last round, Totton were handed a home tie in this round against fellow Evo-Stik Southern Premier League side Weymouth. The Stags and The Terras have already met once this season; Totton triumphed 2-0 at the Testwood Stadium in the league back in August. Weymouth have reached this round with away victories over Taunton Town and Hungerford Town, although they needed replays in both ties after two home draws. There was no replay required after this game though.

The game started with half chances for both sides as it showed early promise of being a classic cup tie. However it wasn't long before the referee threatened to ruin the game. A long clearance out of the Totton defence brought Weymouth goalkeeper Tom Manley out of his goal and in his haste to get to the ball before Michael Charles he stretched to get a hand on the ball and deny the striker a route through to goal, not realising he was about 3 or 4 yards outside of the penalty area. Referee David Spain called the keeper over to him and brandished the red card with just 6 minutes played. Weymouth boss Brendon King sent on rookie keeper Chris Povall, with player-assistant manager Matt Groves sacrificed to allow the young keeper to come on.

If anyone thought the game would calm down after this, they were very much mistaken. With 12 minutes gone, Craig Duff flew in with a two-footed challenge on Matt Oldring as he tried to clear the ball. An angry reaction from Mike Gosney almost started a mass brawl but the other Totton players broke it up and pushed Gosney away. The referee waited for things to calm down before flashing the red card again. Duff was sent off for the late tackle, and Gosney for pushing Duff after his foul. So just 13 minutes into the game Weymouth were down to 9 men and Totton down to 10.

Just past the half an hour mark, Totton had the advantage on goals as well as players. The referee pointed to the penalty spot after a foul in the box, and in the absence of the red-carded Gosney, spot kick duties were handed to Nathaniel Sherborne, and the striker made no mistake as he sent substitute keeper Chris Povall the wrong way to give The Stags the lead. 5 minutes later Sherborne was unlucky not to double the lead. His shot on the turn from 12 yards hit the post and Weymouth were able to clear. The second goal did come just before half time, however. Carl Pettefer found Nathan Campbell on the wing and he played a superb one-two with Ryan Hill, before delivering a pinpoint low cross to Michael Charles on the edge of the box who volleyed a first-time shot into the bottom corner.

Half time: AFC Totton 2-0 Weymouth

With nearly an hour played, Totton brought on Mark Osman in place of Michael Charles and the striker made an immediate impact. Osman was on the pitch for less than a minute when Ryan Scott played a lobbed ball over the Weymouth defence for him to run on to and, despite calls for offside from Weymouth players, fans and management, he timed his run perfectly to collect the ball with his first touch of the game, and roll the ball under Povall with his second to make it 3-0 and seemingly make the game safe for the home side.

This would prove not to be the case, however, when Weymouth got a goal back 13 minutes later. The Terras brought Jamie Beasley on at half time in place of Scott Dixon and the tricky winger scored a great goal when he brought down a long diagonal ball and went past Totton sub Aidan Lewis and goalkeeper Grant Porter and fired the ball into the back of the net to reduce the deficit. And just over a minute later Weymouth were right back in the game with a second goal.

The away side won a corner and the ball was played towards the back post where Sam Poole was running in with Matt Oldring and beat the Totton left back to the ball and headed between Carl Pettefer on the post and Grant Porter to give the travelling support hope of an unlikely comeback. Any hopes of completing the comeback were eradicated 10 minutes from time when Sherborne was brought down in the box by Sam Poole, and the defender went from hero to villain after his goal minutes earlier as he was sent off for a second bookable offence and conceded a penalty. Sherborne dusted himself down to put away his second of the game from the spot and put Totton into the final qualifying round of the FA Cup.

Full time: AFC Totton 4-2 Weymouth

The referee nearly ruined this game but in the end it turned out to be a classic. 4 red cards and 6 goals were shared between the sides, fortunately for Totton we had the advantage on goals and not red cards. Some of you may remember the referee, David Spain, as the man who sent off Dorchester Town player-manager Ashley Vickers against Havant & Waterlooville last season for tackling a streaker wearing a mankini, and Mr Spain was the centre of attention again today. Totton made hard work of beating Weymouth but are through to the 4th qualifying round with real hopes of reaching the 1st round proper for the first time in the club's history.

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill (Lewis 61), Richardson, Whisken, Oldring (Davies), Pettefer, Scott, Campbell, Gosney, Sherborne, Charles (Osman 55). Unused subs: Casey, Baddeley, Chester, Coutts.

Weymouth: Manley, Tribe, Dixon (Beasley 46), Napper, Frampton, Poole, Duff, Malsom (Doyle 79), Groves (Povall 6), Byerley, Reed. Unused subs: Marshallsay, McKechnie, Conning.

Goals: AFC Totton: Sherborne (32, 79 pens), Charles (44), Osman (57).
           Weymouth: Beasley (71), Poole (73).

Officials: Referee: Mr D Spain. Assistants: Mr L Crowhurst & Mr F Meilack.

Attendance: 712 (sic).

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

AFC Totton 7-2 Cove - Hampshire Senior Cup 2nd Round


Totton began their second defence of the Hampshire Senior Cup with a bye to the second round where Cove FC of the Combined Counties Football League were waiting. Although Cove gave a good account of themselves Totton notched up a convincing scoreline to sail through to the next round. Mark Osman headed Totton in front after just 4 minutes before scoring a second on the half hour mark. James Coutts made it 3-0 with 5 minutes to go until half time before the impressive Laurie Walters pulled one back for Cove just before the break.

Half time: AFC Totton 3-1 Cove

Just 4 minutes into the second half Cove got another goal back when Jack Ball did well to fire into the roof of the net from a tight angle. On the hour mark, Stefan Brown restored Totton's 2-goal advantage with a simple tap in from Jon Davies' low cross. Coutts scored his second with 12 minutes remaining before completing his hattrick 5 minutes later. Substitute Nathaniel Sherborne had the final say as he fired in goal number 7 with 5 minutes to go.

Full time: AFC Totton 7-2 Cove

Totton are safely through to the next round of the competition we have won for the last 2 seasons and await the draw for the next round.

AFC Totton: Casey, Lewis, Richardson (Baddeley 46), Campbell, Oldring, Jon Davies (Gosney 75), Scott, Pettefer, Calum Davies, Brown, Osman (Sherborne 75). Unused subs: Hill, Whisken.

Cove: McNeil, Firth, Millerick, Dean Thomas, Oladipa, Gray, Walters, Calvin Thomas, Ball, Harewood, Mitchell. Subs: Berry, Street, Peters, Tancock.

Goals: Totton: Osman (4, 29), Coutts (40, 78, 83), Brown (60), Sherborne (86)
            Cove: Walters (42), Ball (49).

Officials: Referee: Mr G Parsons. Assistants: Mr P Bukeridge & Mr M Pointing.

Attendance: 184.

Evesham v Totton - Man of the Match

Well, it wasn't a great performance, although it's never easy playing with 10 men against 14. Totton lost 1-0 at Evesham (Worcester) after having Ryan Scott sent off early on and being denied by some laughable refereeing. The accolade is shared this week after a tie in the voting. Carl Pettefer and Tom Baddeley came joint first with 33% of the vote each. Jamie Whisken, returning from injury, was second with 16%. Grant Porter and Michael Charles came joint third with 8% of the vote each.

Man of the match results

1st: Tom Baddeley and Carl Pettefer - 33%
2nd: Jamie Whisken - 16%
3rd: Grant Porter and Michael Charles - 8%

Monday, 10 October 2011

Evesham United 1-0 AFC Totton, 08/10/11 3pm


The 3-0 win over Cirencester aside, Totton haven't been playing particularly well recently. Before this a first home defeat of the season against Hitchin was followed by an unconvincing performance in the 2-1 win at Clevedon in the last round of the FA Cup. Before this game, Evesham hadn't won in the league since a 1-0 home victory over Frome Town on August 23rd, 8 games ago. With Totton top and Evesham 3rd from bottom this game looked like a Stags victory on paper. But games aren't won or lost on paper. And this one was definitely lost on the pitch for Totton.

With 10 minutes gone Totton had the first real chance of the game. From a cross, Nathaniel Sherborne's headed effort looped towards to the top corner but it was a comfortable catch for Evesham goalkeeper Nathan Vaughan. Totton got a free kick 5 minutes later, and Mike Gosney sent it low towards the bottom corner but Vaughan got down to smother the ball as Sherborne tried to get to it first.

In the 17th minute of the game a moment of madness made the game an uphill struggle for Totton. There was an altercation off the ball between Ryan Scott and Evesham's Simon Fitter. Scott tackled Fitter and won the ball. As Fitter got up he kicked Scott and moved his head towards Scott's face. Scott should have walked away but he retaliated and aimed a headbutt back at Fitter just as the referee turned to see it. So he didn't see Fitter lash out at Scott but saw Scott have a go back and gave Scott a straight red card.

Totton didn't seem to be affected by the dismissal of Scott though and they continued to create chances. From a free kick out wide on the right, Gosney aimed a low effort towards the near post which Vaughan got down to push away and the ball was put behind by Michael Charles as he tried to turn it goalwards. Moments later Sherborne had a shot from distance that sailed over the bar.

The Stags continued to dominate and with half an hour gone, Charles collected the ball in the box before laying it off to Ryan Hill running in and the right back unleashed a powerful shot from 20 yards that was just wide of the post. Hill had another chance to score just before half time when his free kick 25 yards out found a gap in the Evesham wall and almost found the bottom corner but Vaughan was behind it once again. The keeper spilled the initial shot but gathered at the second attempt despite the combined efforts of Charles and Sherborne to put the ball over the line.

Half time: Evesham United 0-0 AFC Totton

Totton came out fighting in the second half as they looked to continue the pressure they had put on Evesham up until the half time whistle. With the second half just 3 minutes old, Mike Gosney ended a run down the left wing with a good pass inside to Michael Charles who then played in Nathaniel Sherborne, but the striker's effort was blocked by the legs of an Evesham defender and the ball ran safely through to Robins keeper Nathan Vaughan.

With just under 25 minutes remaining, Totton were hit by a sucker punch against the run of play. Evesham were awarded a free kick out on the wing. The ball was played in by Josh Quaynor towards the far post where it was headed down by Evesham captain Wayne Daniel and on hand was Craig Wilding who reacted quickest to poke the ball home from 6 yards.

From then on Totton threw everyone forward at every opportunity in search of what would have been a deserved equaliser but it never came as referee Adam Mathews made some questionable decisions to deny Totton and snuff out any hope the away side had of getting something from the game.

Full time: Evesham United 1-0 AFC Totton

Totton deserved at least a point from this game but thanks to Ryan Scott's red card and some abysmal refereeing, we came away from St George's Lane pointless, disappointed and angry. Evesham played well but Totton easily matched them despite the home team having the advantage of the extra man. Next up for The Stags, we begin the defence of the Hampshire Senior Cup when Cove visit on Tuesday 11th October for a 7:45pm kick off. Next Saturday (15th October) Weymouth are back in town for an FA Cup 3rd qualifying round tie. On their visit to Totton in the league earlier in the season, the Terras lost 2-0. We are not back in league action until Tuesday 25th October when Cambridge City are the opponents at the Testwood Stadium.

Evesham United: Vaughan, Blake, Hyde, Daniel, Jones, Walker, Fitter, Wilding, Palmer, Otobo, Quaynor. Subs: Woodley, Malhotra, O'Kelly, Connor, Hands.

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Campbell, Whisken, Baddeley (Oldring), Davies, Pettefer, Scott, Gosney, Sherborne (Brown), Charles (Coutts). Unused subs: Osman, Lewis.

Goals: Evesham: Wilding (66).

Officials: Referee: Mr A Mathews. Assistants: Mr S Ireland & Mr S Oakey.

Attendance: 130.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Totton v Cirencester - Man of the Match

Voting for the man of the match in the 3-0 home win over Cirencester has now closed. The results are in and you chose goalkeeper Grant Porter as your man of the match. Porter made several top saves to deny Cirencester when they had got themselves into good scoring positions, including a terrific one-on-one save to deny Mike Tambling after the Cirencester striker had done the hard bit of breaking through the Totton defence but messed up the easy bit as his shot was blocked by the legs of Porter. His handling and distribution throughout the game was also good, setting up a few Totton attacks. Stags captain Carl Pettefer came second in the vote after his battling display in midfield and some excellent defence-splitting passes. And despite scoring twice in the opening 12 minutes for Totton, striker Michael Charles came third in the vote.

Man of the match results

1st: Grant Porter - 38%
2nd: Carl Pettefer - 23%
3rd: Michael Charles - 19%

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

AFC Totton 3-0 Cirencester Town, 04/10/11 7:45pm


After an FA Cup outing against Clevedon Town at the weekend, Totton were back in league action on Tuesday night as we welcomed Cirencester Town to the Testwood Stadium. The Centurions are struggling at the wrong end of the table in the early part of the season as they sit 2nd from bottom with just 1 win and 6 points to their name so far.

The game got off to the best possible start for The Stags when, after just 2 minutes, Michael Charles lobbed the ball over Cirencester keeper Kevin Sawyer from a tight angle and it bounced over the line via the underside of the crossbar. 3 minutes later Cirencester got a free kick 25 yards from goal. The ball was player towards the far post where Nathan Campbell headed it away only as far as a Cirencester player on the edge of the box but his shot was rushed and he skewed it well wide of the goal.

On 12 minutes Totton doubled their advantage. A free kick was won right on the byline out near the corner flag to the left of goal. Mike Gosney hit it low and hard across goal into the packed 6 yard box and Charles was well placed to knock the ball in from a yard out. Moments later Cirencester nearly got themselves back in the game when a rasping shot from the edge of the box narrowly cleared the top of the crossbar with Grant Porter rooted to the spot.

The away side began to put together a good spell of sustained pressure after that chance, and with 20 minutes gone they won 2 corners in quick succession. The first one was too high for anyone to get their heads on and Ryan Scott touched the ball behind for a corner from the opposite side. From that second corner Grant Porter did well to come off his line and punch the ball away, but it only reached the feet of a Cirencester player 20 yards from goal who controlled it well before unleashing a powerful driven shot that cannoned off the top of the crossbar and looped up and out of the ground.

Cirencester continued to pile on the pressure and they poured forward at every opportunity as they searched for a way back into the game. With just short of 10 minutes to go until the break they should have halved the deficit. Mike Tambling broke through the Totton defence with ease and as he bore down on goal Grant Porter rushed off his line to meet him and made a brilliant one-on-one save with his feet. The ball fell to another Cirencester attacker in the box but his shot was blocked well by Tom Baddeley and the ball trickled harmlessly into Porter's arms.

Half time: AFC Totton 2-0 Cirencester Town

The first 15 minutes of the second half were very sluggish, with no clear-cut chances for either side. But on the hour mark the game suddenly sprung into life again. Nathaniel Sherborne had a shot turned over the crossbar by Sawyer, and from the resulting corner the ball went over everyone and fell to Carl Pettefer on the other side. He played the ball back into the penalty area and Nathan Campbell rose highest to send the ball goalwards with his head, only to see Sawyer tip his effort over as well. From the second corner Sherborne put the ball over the bar for a goal kick.

3 minutes later and Campbell came close again. A free kick was awarded out near the touchline and Gosney whipped it in low towards the keeper. Campbell slid in to try and get to the ball before Sawyer but it just evaded his outstretched foot and the keeper was able to clear. Up the other end, Ryan Hill gave the ball away in a dangerous area but Tambling had maybe more time than he realised and hurried his shot, sending it the wrong side of the post. Not long after this minor scare, Totton made the game safe with a 3rd goal. From Ryan Hill's long throw-in, Sherborne knocked the ball back to Gosney who drilled his shot home from 12 yards.

With a quarter of an hour remaining a handball decision was given against Cirencester keeper Kevin Sawyer. A long ball over the top for substitute Stefan Brown to run onto drew Sawyer off his line to the edge of the box where he reached out and grabbed the ball before Brown could get his foot to it. The assistant referee raised his flag as it appeared the ball was still outside of the area when Sawyer caught it. The handball resulted in a free kick which Ryan Hill took but the ball sailed over the bar.

2 minutes from time Totton were given another free kick. Cirencester captain Richard Mansell brought down James Coutts after the Totton substitute had tried to go past him out by the left touchline. Gosney took the set piece and sent a curling shot just high and wide of the far top corner of the goal.

Full time: AFC Totton 3-0 Cirencester Town

A good result and another 3 points for Totton who are back to winning ways in the league after the defeat to Hitchin in the last game. Cirencester gave us a very good game and their performance was not that of a team languishing in 21st place in the league table, on this evidence they should get themselves away from the basement and up the table in no time. Next up for The Stags is a trip to Worcester City on Saturday. No, that's not a misprint. We are playing Evesham but as they have not moved into their new ground yet, the game will be played at St George's Lane, home of Conference North club Worcester City. See you all there!

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Campbell, Oldring, Baddeley, Davies (Coutts 72), Scott, Pettefer, Gosney, Sherborne (Osman 76), Charles (Brown 68). Unused subs: Lewis, Tomasso.

Cirencester Town: Sawyer, Wilson, Mansell, Sysum (Gunn 80), Mayo, Henry, Reid (Dunton 78), Mortimer-Jones, Tambling, Else, Westlake. Unused subs: Etheridge.

Goals: AFC Totton: Charles (2, 12), Gosney (68).

Officials: Referee: Mr A Tranter. Assistants: Mr R Magrath & Mr I Bardsley.

Attendance: 377.

Clevedon v Totton - Man of the Match

The results of the first man of the match poll are in. This seems to have worked quite well, so I will make it a permanent feature after every game. And hopefully as more people become aware of it we will get more votes for future games.

Against Clevedon, Totton welcomed back Ryan Scott after the former captain retired at the end of last season due to injury. He has now returned to the club after it emerged that the injury was not as serious as first thought. And Scotty made a huge impact on his return against Clevedon as he controlled the midfield and it was his strike that won the game for The Stags 3 minutes from time. And the voting has matched the opinions after the game amongst the fans as Ryan has been voted man of the match against Clevedon with 63% of the vote. It's good to have you back Scotty!

Man of the match results

1st: Ryan Scott - 63%
2nd: Nathaniel Sherborne - 18%
3rd: Matt Oldring and Carl Pettefer - 9%

Sunday, 2 October 2011

FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round: Clevedon Town 1-2 AFC Totton, 01/10/11 3pm


After easing past Fleet Town in the last round Totton were handed an away trip to Clevedon Town in the 2nd qualifying round. The Stags played Clevedon in the South & West Division last season on their way to the league title. But Clevedon made sure Totton didn't have it all their own way last season as they took 4 points off us in the 2 league games with a 1-0 win at the old Testwood Park and a 2-2 draw at their own Hand Stadium. So this would by no means be an easy ride for Totton as they bid to reach the FA Cup 3rd qualifying round.

Both our regular centre backs, Ian Richardson and Jamie Whisken were injured and unavailable for this game so Matt Oldring and Nathan Campbell deputised in the centre of defence. But better news for Totton fans was the return of fans favourite Ryan Scott. The midfield general retired at the end of last season at the age of 24 with a recurring knee injury. But the injury turned out to be not as serious as feared and Scott has now rejoined the club.

The game started pretty evenly, with Clevedon having an early chance when Jordan Walker sent a header wide. Totton then got a free kick out wide on the left which Ryan Hill delivered and Nathan Campbell controlled, before having his shot blocked and the ball was cleared. The Stags then got another free kick after a foul on Nathaniel Sherborne on the edge of the box, and Ryan Hill's effort was straight at Clevedon keeper Alex Leaman who held the ball at the second attempt after spilling the initial shot.

On 20 minutes Totton were the width of a post away from taking the lead. Michael Charles was put through on goal and his shot cannoned back off the upright; Sherborne's strike from the rebound being blocked and cleared by Steve Kingdon. From a corner moments later, Charles' header was cleared off the line by Kingdon as he proved to be a stubborn one-man blockade between Totton and the back of the net. But on 34 minutes Totton finally found a way to goal, though they needed a bit of help from Clevedon defender Steve Kingdon as he hauled down Sherborne in the box and referee Matthew Rushton pointed to the spot. Mike Gosney scored the penalty and Totton had the lead.

Clevedon had a decent chance to level minutes later when a 30 yard Ashley Kington free kick was acrobatically tipped over the bar by Grant Porter. And with half time approaching, Jon Davies could have doubled Totton's advantage when he went on a mazy run past 3 players and made some space for himself to shoot from the edge of the box, but dragged the shot across goal and just wide of the post.

Half time: Clevedon Town 0-1 AFC Totton

For the first quarter of an hour of the second half, it was Totton vs Alex Leaman as the Clevedon stopper pulled off a string of excellent saves to keep The Stags at bay, denying Sherborne, Charles and Gosney. Not to be outdone, Grant Porter then produced a magnificent save to keep out Chas Hemmings' header from point-blank range and push the ball away to safety.

With 15 minutes remaining, substitute Stefan Brown nearly set up the clincher as his cross from the right fizzed across the face of goal and Charles was inches away from getting his head on the ball as it rolled out for a throw in to Clevedon on the far side. 5 minutes later, Gosney was through one-on-one with the on-rushing Leaman and as he pulled the trigger he appeared to be clipped from behind by the defender snapping at his heels, but he tried to stay on his feet and saw his shot saved.

Clevedon sub Reeko Best came close to an equaliser on 83 minutes when he shot into the side-netting. But the home side didn't have to wait much longer to get themselves back on level terms. With 4 minutes to go, a free kick was awarded 25 yards from goal after Matt Oldring fouled Chas Hemmings. Clevedon captain Ashley Kington stepped up to unleash an unstoppable rising shot into the top corner via the palms of Grant Porter, who could do nothing to prevent the driven effort from finding the back of the net.

With Clevedon still celebrating, and a replay at the Testwood Stadium looming, Totton went straight up the other end and scored what proved to be the winning goal. Ryan Scott collected the ball in midfield and took a touch before trying an ambitious shot on goal from 45 yards that was going wide of the post until it took a massive deflection off of Clevedon defender Sam Johnson and trickled into the bottom corner with Leaman too slow to react after seemingly thinking the ball was going to roll harmlessly wide.

Full time: Clevedon Town 1-2 AFC Totton

After being pegged back with 5 minutes to go, it looked like Totton would have to settle for a replay on Tuesday evening. But the return of Ryan Scott to the Stags midfield proved the difference as he capped off a superb performance with the shot which resulted in the winning goal, although it has gone down as a Sam Johnson own goal as Scott's effort was going wide before the deflection off the unfortunate Clevedon defender. So as there is no need for a replay, the league game at home against Cirencester Town this Tuesday will go ahead as planned. Kick off is 7:45pm at the Testwood Stadium.

Clevedon Town: Leaman, Johnson, Teale, Mills, Kingdon, Geeson, Fisher (Best 64), Kington, Klein-Davies (Gale 64), Hemmings, Walker. Unused subs: Edwards-Samuels, Playford, Fortune, Dulawa.

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Campbell, Oldring, Baddeley, Davies, Scott (Coutts 90), Pettefer, Gosney, Sherborne (Brown 69), Charles (Osman 79). Unused subs: Lewis, Tomasso.

Goals: Clevedon: Kington (85)
            Totton: Gosney (34 pen), Johnson OG (87).

Officials: Referee: Mr M Rushton. Assistants: Mr P Humphrey & Mr A Matthews.

Attendance: 140.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Top 5 League Goals So Far This Season IMO

For those of you not down with the kids and therefore unfamiliar with shortened 'text speak', which is essentially now just acronyms, 'IMO' means 'in my opinion'. Like 'LOL' means 'laugh out loud' or 'BRB' means 'be right back', or 'WTF' get the picture.

Basically, these are the best goals we've scored in the league so far this season in my opinion. As there is little or no video footage of any of these goals, they have been accurately recreated with the magic of Microsoft Paint. If you can think of other goals which didn't make it into my top 5, you can of course voice your displeasure at their exclusion in the comments section below. Please note that all complaints will be ignored. Also, anyone who criticises my artwork will be shot down in a tirade of abusive language. :-)

So here we go:

Number Five

Mike Gosney v Oxford City (Home, Tues 16 Aug 2011)

With Totton already 4-0 up, this game was pretty much a foregone conclusion. A brilliant flowing passing move 10 minutes into the second half ended with Gosney receiving the ball on the edge of the area, taking it past one defender and firing a fierce shot past City goalkeeper Jason Mooney that went in off the underside of the crossbar. I do love a goal that rattles the woodwork on it's way in, like Tony Yeboah for Leeds against Wimbledon in 1995. Smashing.

Number Four

Michael Charles v St Albans City (Away, Tuesday 13 Sept 2011)

Totton had fallen behind early in this one but stormed back to take a 3-1 half time lead. But St Albans quickly got themselves back in it with a goal seconds after the break to make it 3-2. But as quickly as they reduced the deficit, Totton increased it again. From Matt Oldring's cross, Michael Charles controlled the ball with his chest and, with his back to goal, hit a lovely volley (lovely is an anagram of volley! I just noticed that) over his shoulder and inside the post for 4-2.

Number Three

Ryan Hill v Barwell (Home, Sat 3 Sept 2011)

After Barwell had wasted more time than Abu Hamza takes when tying his shoes, the referee played 9 minutes of added time. And in the seventh of those, Totton grabbed the winning goal and all 3 points when Ryan Hill's 30-yard free kick found the bottom corner. Cracking timing, and a goal right out of the top drawer.

Number Two

Nathaniel Sherborne v Barwell (Home, Sat 3 Sept 2011)

The penultimate goal comes from the same game as number three. Sherby's quality finish from outside the box gave Totton a 10th minute lead against Barwell. After receiving the ball out on the right wing, he cut inside, dodged his marker and sent a superb curling strike into the far top corner with Barwell  keeper Liam Castle well beaten. Despite how he is depicted below, Liam Castle's left arm is not twice as long as his right arm in real life as far as I'm aware.

Number One

Matt Oldring v St Albans City (Away, Tues 13 Sept 2011)

So here it is, number one. The best goal Totton have scored so far this season (in my opinion). Totton had already equalised after falling behind to Tobi Jinadu's 3rd minute goal for St Albans when Matt Oldring produced a quality finish to give The Stags the lead. From Mike Gosney's long throw in, Nathan Campbell rose above his marker to head the ball on to Oldring in the box who took a touch to flick the ball up in front of him, then swivelled and hit a sweet volley on his right foot into the far top corner over the head of the defender on the line. You'll notice one of the players is wearing a top hat. I got bored. Don't begrudge me a bit of artistic license.

So there we are. As I said previously, if you believe any other goals were overlooked then do feel free to tell me by commenting below. Not that it will change anything. I've already made my decisions. Hard cheese.

I will compile another selection of top notch goals at the start of December, after our next 9 league games. At the end of the season I might do a round up of the best goals scored in cup competitions across the whole season. Maybe. If you behave yourselves. We'll see.

Monday, 19 September 2011

FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round: AFC Totton 2-0 Fleet Town, 17/09/11 3pm


Totton took a break from league duty this week as Fleet Town visited the Testwood Stadium for an FA Cup 1st qualifying round tie. Fleet got to this round after beating Alton Town 4-3 in the last preliminary round. Before kick off there was a presentation on the pitch as James Fallon, who owns Totton's new shirt sponsor, Beaumont Water Heaters, was presented to the crowd and posed for a photo with a shirt with the new logo on it. Stuart Ritchie fielded a strong team in this game with the only change from the victory at St Albans in midweek being Jon Davies coming back into midfield in the place of James Coutts, who dropped to the bench.

Fleet began the game with a free kick 25 yards out that was well over the bar. Soon after and Totton threatened at the other end. From a corner, Sherborne got his head on the ball but was denied by an excellent save from Andy Bayliss to turn it behind, and from the second corner Campbell's effort was wide of the post. Mike Gosney then provided Sherborne with a great chance to open the scoring when his low cross just evaded the striker's boot and the ball went out for a goal kick.

After 10 minutes Totton got a free kick 25 yards from goal out wide on the left. Ryan Hill whipped the ball into the box but Sherborne's header was over the bar and landed on the roof of the net. Michael Charles then did well to get in front of his marker to meet Jon Davies' cross with a header that went high and wide. After a couple more chances for both sides, the breakthrough finally came after 24 minutes when Totton were awarded a penalty. Mike Gosney (who else?) despatched the spot kick for his 8th goal in all competitions this season.

Soon after the penalty Totton came close to a second. Matt Oldring, who scored his first goal for The Stags in the 4-3 win at St Albans during the week, ran forward with the ball and, with no other options in front of him, unleashed a powerful shot from 25 yards that sailed just inches over the crossbar. Oldring was involved again just after the half-hour mark when his cross found Gosney in the box but his shot was wide of goal. Moments later goalscorer Gosney turned provider when Sherborne latched onto his low driven cross to fire a rasping shot past Bayliss in the Fleet goal from the edge of the box.

Half time: AFC Totton 2-0 Fleet Town

With 7 minutes gone in the second half, Gosney almost got himself a second goal in bizarre fashion when his cross from the left hit the crossbar and went over for a goal kick. 2 minutes later Gosney set up Davies 12 yards out but he couldn't connect properly with the ball and ended up slicing his shot well wide of goal. Gosney continued to set up plenty of Totton chances and on 73 minutes his low cross towards Sherborne was intercepted by a Fleet defender who nearly scored an own goal when he deflected the ball just wide.

Substitute Mark Osman then put Gosney through on goal and he drew a smart save from Bayliss as he turned the ball around the post. From the resulting corner Nathan Campbell rose highest to head the ball just over the bar. A minute later, Campbell headed over the bar again after good work by Carl Pettefer and Ryan Hill down the right wing.

With 7 minutes remaining Fleet could have given themselves a late lifeline when a shot from distance was headed off the line by Ryan Hill. And with 2 minutes to go, substitute Aidan Lewis came close to getting his first goal of the season when he ran onto Gosney's cross but he could only shoot over from close range with just Bayliss to beat.

Full time: AFC Totton 2-0 Fleet Town

A professional display from Totton who scored 2 goals in 11 first half minutes and then saw the game out comfortably whilst still creating plenty of chances to score, and were it not for Fleet goalkeeper Andy Bayliss and some wayward finishing from the home side, it could have been a much heavier defeat for The Blues. After this win, Totton were drawn away to Clevedon Town in the next round of the FA Cup. Clevedon's record against Totton in the South & West Division last season was a 2-2 draw and a 1-0 win, so this is by no means an easy tie for The Stags. It will be played on Saturday 1st October, 3pm at the Hand Stadium, Clevedon. But before that, we entertain Hitchin Town at the Testwood Stadium on Saturday 24th September for a 3pm kickoff.

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Richardson, Whisken, Oldring, Davies (Lewis 90), Pettefer, Campbell, Gosney, Sherborne (Coutts 90), Charles (Osman 71). Unused subs: Casey, Baddeley, Tomasso, Abe.

Fleet Town: Bayliss, Rousell, Hutchings, Riddell, Wilson, George (Wynter 65), Pilgrim, Davis, Knowles (Fairless 65), Odeh, King (Campbell 84). Unused subs: Smalley, Walker.

Goals: AFC Totton: Gosney (24 penalty), Sherborne (35).

Officials: Referee: Mr C Wade. Assistants: Mr A Linford & Mr J Rake.

Attendance: 394.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

St Albans City 3-4 AFC Totton, 13/09/11 7:45pm


After the fantastic 3-0 win at big-spending Brackley Town on Saturday, Totton were on a real high going into this Tuesday evening game against another team tipped to be near the top at the business end of the season. While Totton beat Brackley, Danny Hart and Jerome Walker scored to give St Albans a 2-0 home win over Redditch United. Totton switched back to 4-4-2 for this game after starting with a five-man midfield against Brackley. Nathaniel Sherborne and Michael Charles started together up front, but there were changes in midfield, where James Coutts came in for Jon Davies on the right, and at the back Matt Oldring started at left back instead of Tom Baddeley after his impressive display on Saturday.

St Albans got off to the perfect start in this game when, with just 3 minutes on the clock, Ryan Watts sent in a low cross that was turned home from close range by Tobi Jinadu. Totton responded well to this early setback and had a good chance after 5 minutes when Michael Charles headed over from James Coutts' cross to the far post. A foul on Charles 20 yards from goal in the 10th minute then gave The Stags a free kick. Ryan Hill took it and sent a low shot towards the bottom corner which Saints goalkeeper Will Viner did well to get down to and turn away from goal. Sherborne got to the ball first from the rebound but was flagged for offside.

But Totton didn't have long to wait to grab an equaliser. Charles played a perfect through ball for Sherborne to run onto and he slotted the ball just inside the post. Totton were level for just under 10 minutes before taking the lead for the first time in the game. Mike Gosney launched a long throw-in towards Nathan Campbell in the box. Campbell flicked the ball on with his head and it fell to left back Matt Oldring who had come forward for a corner moments previously. Oldring took one touch to flick the ball up in front of him and then swivelled to send a brilliant volley into the top corner over the head of the defender on the line with Viner rooted to the spot.

The game continued to be quite even between the two teams until the 38th minute when the most significant moment of the game so far occurred. From a Gosney corner, Jamie Whisken sent a header towards goal but the ball was blocked on the line by the arm of defender Jack Pattison. Referee Adrian Gillett had no hesitation in giving Pattison his marching orders and pointing to the spot. Viner went the right way but was never getting to the ball as Gosney's penalty had too much pace and power on it as it found the bottom corner.

Half time: St Albans City 1-3 AFC Totton

St Albans started the second half the same way they started the first; with a goal. A cross into the box was headed down by half-time substitute Barrie Matthews and Tobi Jinadu shot past Grant Porter for his and his team's second goal of the game. But as quickly as The Saints had got themselves back into the game, they were back out of it again. Matt Oldring crossed from the left to Michael Charles in the box who took the ball on his chest and sent a volley over his shoulder and into the top corner for 4-2.

For the remainder of the match the 10 men of St Albans completely outplayed Totton's 11 men. And their superiority paid off with 10 minutes to go. A long ball through the middle split the Totton defence and Sakho Bakare ran onto it to slide the ball past the on-rushing Grant Porter and give the home fans hope in the dying minutes.

Totton continued to be pegged back and Grant Porter was booked for time-wasting over a goal kick. The Stags tried to waste a bit more time by holding the ball in the corner for as long as possible but lost the ball every time. Fortunately the Totton defence stood firm against the late onslaught and we held on for all 3 points.

Full time: St Albans City 3-4 AFC Totton

Totton were lucky not to come away with just a point from this game. And, credit to St Albans, it would have been a deserved point for them as they put Totton under constant pressure in the second half as they tried to get themselves back in the game. At times it looked like it was The Stags who were a man short and not The Saints, who were superb and will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season. Next up for Totton is an FA Cup qualifier against Evo-Stik Division One Central strugglers Fleet Town. The tie will be played at the Testwood Stadium this Saturday at 3pm.

St Albans City: Viner, Pattison, Ralph, Ijaha, Cutchey, Jinadu, Hart, Solomon Shields (Matthews 46 mins), Haworth (Bakare 45), Walker (Sean Shields 71), Watts. Unused subs: Jupp, Haisley.

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Richardson, Whisken, Oldring, Coutts (Davies 56), Pettefer, Campbell, Gosney, Sherborne (Baddeley 85), Charles (Osman 71). Unused subs: Lewis, Tomasso.

Goals: St Albans: Jinadu (3 & 48), Bakare (80).
          AFC Totton: Sherborne (13), Oldring (22), Gosney (38 penalty), Charles (49).

Officials: Referee: Mr A Gillett. Assistants: Mr A Groves & Mr S Borham.

Attendance: 329.