Tuesday, 26 April 2011

CHAMPIONS!!! Gosport Borough 0-1 AFC Totton 25/04/2011 3:00pm

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Gosport Borough: LWWLLL

Both teams went into this, the final league game of the season, on the back of defeats at the weekend. Gosport lost 2-0 away at Bideford courtesy of goals from Squire and Furzer. Totton lost 2-1 at home to Mangotsfield, who have the best away record in the league this season. Kington and Page put the away side 2-0 up before Jonathan Davies got a consolation for Totton in the second half. Totton needed just a point from their trip to Gosport to win the league, although if Sholing beat Wimborne 27-0 then Totton would need to get all 3 points at Privett Park. Well, good luck with that...

The game began with Totton very much on top. Most of the attacking threat came from down the wings as Michael Green and Mike Gosney on the left, and Aidan Lewis and Jonathan Davies on the right, played numerous crosses into the box with Nathan Campbell, Nathaniel Sherborne and Stefan Brown all missing the target early on. Meanwhile, over at Cuthbury, Sholing made the worst possible start when Wimborne kicked off, went straight towards goal, and Lee Chudy scored after just 40 seconds.

After nearly half an hour of constant pressure from the the Stags, Gosport's determined defence finally let it's guard down. Campbell spotted the run of Gosney down the left wing and played an excellent ball in behind the defence that Gosney ran on to. As the defence got back, Gosney held the ball up before delivering a low cross that was met by a Gosport defender who could only clear as far as Jonathan Davies on the edge of the box and his side-footed shot went through a crowd of players and just eluded the reach of Gosport keeper Alex Hards to find the bottom corner of the goal. Minutes before Totton scored, Sholing equalised at Wimborne courtesy of Mike Carter.

Totton should have doubled the lead shortly after the goal when Stefan Brown was sent through clear on goal but Boro' defender Aaron Cook did well to get back and dispossess the Stags striker at the expense of a corner. The remaining minutes of the half followed pretty much the same pattern, with Totton pouring forward without reward.

Half time: Gosport Borough 0-1 AFC Totton.
                Wimborne Town 1-1 Sholing.

The second half began with a Gosport attack that nearly resulted in an equaliser. Former Totton man Justin Bennett found himself with space and time to shoot but Grant Porter pulled off a good diving save to keep the Stags in front. After that Totton were never really threatened seriously again. The Gosport defence stood firm, and Hards made a brilliant double save with a quarter of an hour remaining to thwart Totton's attempts to put the result beyond doubt. Sholing did their best to keep themselves in the title race as they scored twice in the second half to go 3-1 up at Wimborne.

Gosport got forward a few times in the second half but Porter never had a serious save to make with the defence mopping up most Boro' attacks. As the seconds ticked down towards 90 minutes, Totton tried to waste them by taking the ball to the corner flags and succeeded in winning lots of throw-ins and corners, allowing them to run the clock down even more. As the game slowly moved into added time, the Totton bench got to their feet and the fans gradually began to climb over the barrier around the pitch, until they were met by the sound of the referee's whistle for the final time.

Full time: Gosport Borough 0-1 AFC Totton.
                Wimborne Town 1-3 Sholing.

Fans swarmed onto the pitch and joined in the celebrations with the players and management staff. After the commotion calmed down the players took their place in the dugout for team photos and were given bottles of champagne which soon ended up all over everyone. My shirt still smells of the stuff. Finally the players and management lined up in the centre circle and walked back to the dressing room as the fans formed a guard of honour on the pitch.

So Totton are champions, and will play in the Southern Premier League next season. They will be joined by one of Sholing, Mangotsfield, Frome and Thatcham who will all contest the playoffs. Sholing did their best to push Totton all the way to the wire in the race for the league title and automatic promotion, but ultimately it is Totton who deservedly sit proudly at the top of the table as the best team in the league. Next season will see local derbies against New Forest side Bashley who finished comfortably in mid table in the Southern Prem. A day at the seaside is also on the cards as Weymouth survived the drop despite losing to champions Truro City on the final day of the season. Another potential local derby could see the Stags play Salisbury City, who despite leading the table for much of the season, finished 3rd after a run of poor results at the business end of the season and must now win the playoffs or face a second season in the division.

Only one fixture remains for Totton this season, and they could pick up a league and cup double as they play Sholing in the Hampshire Senior Cup final at St Mary's Stadium on May 25th. See you all then!

AFC Totton: Porter, Lewis, Richardson, Whisken, Green, Davies, Pettefer (C), Campbell, Gosney, Brown, Sherborne. Subs: Osman, Charles, Hankin, Price, Scott.

Gosport Borough: Hards, Smith, Wooden, Ford, Arnold, Cook (C), Lynch, Jones, Taylor, Bennett, Woodward. Subs: Preece, Ferguson, Heather, Wilde, Brown.

Goals: Davies (28).

Referee: Mr B Wright.
Assistants: Mr A Dine & Mr A Foster.

Attendance: 377.


1 comment:

  1. A well-deserved win, if a little nerve-wracking for the fans! The best team in the league won the title, no doubt about it. Good luck next season.