Sunday, 17 April 2011

North Leigh 0-3 AFC Totton 16/04/2011 3:00pm

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North Leigh's fourth game in eight days saw the visit of table topping Totton to Eynsham Park. The home side went into the game on the back of a 6-2 victory over Bishops Cleeve on thursday evening that lifted them into the playoff places. Totton also scored plenty in their previous game, the 7-0 win over Hungerford. But as quickly as North Leigh climbed into the playoffs, they were soon back out of them again after Totton eased to victory here and now need just one point from their two remaining games to win the league.

The game was end to end for the first 20 minutes. But the ball spent more time in the air than it did on the turf as both teams hoofed the ball from one end of the field to the other. A couple of headers over the bar from crosses was the best Totton could muster. The one time Totton did what they do best, get the ball down and pass it around, they created the first meaningful effort on goal in the 12th minute. Nathaniel Sherborne passed the ball across the box to Stefan Brown who turned the ball wide with a side-footed effort on goal.

Totton finally made the breakthrough after 23 minutes when Sherborne collected the ball in midfield and charged towards goal, bursting through the North Leigh defence and hitting a slightly scuffed shot from the edge of the box that bounced over the outstretched arm of North Leigh keeper John Beames and into the bottom corner of the net. Beames had a lot to deal with after that goal with Totton spurred on by it. A cross from Aidan Lewis resulted in some pinball in the box before Brown forced the keeper into turning his close range effort round the post. From the resulting Michael Gosney corner, centre back Jamie Whisken towered over everyone as he jumped to send a header over the head of the defender on the line and into the top corner. Before half time Whisken could have got himself a second goal as he ran from outside the box to get his head on the end of Gosney's free kick from wide on the left but couldn't direct it on target as the ball flew across the face of goal and out for a goal kick.

Half time: North Leigh 0-2 AFC Totton

Totton spent much of the second half applying constant pressure on the North Leigh goal without reward. Substitute Mark Osman did well down the right before sending over an inviting cross that Brown was millimetres away from getting his head to and the ball sailed across the box for the defender to clear, and although there was a suspicion of a push on Brown as he stretched for the ball, the referee stuck to his game plan of giving Totton absolutely nothing.

North Leigh substitute Alfie Saunders had the best chance for his side in the second half. His free kick from 25 yards was the first time Grant Porter had been tested in the Totton goal all game and he got down to the low effort to palm it away and the follow up was smashed into the side netting by a North Leigh attacker. In the final minute of the game Totton scored a third goal when substitute Michael Charles set up Gosney to sweep the ball past the keeper.

Full time: North Leigh 0-3 AFC Totton

Totton now need just a point from their remaining two games to clinch the title, with playoff contenders Mangotsfield Town visiting the Testwood Stadium next saturday afternoon. However, the title could be all wrapped up before then as, ironically, North Leigh could in fact do Totton a massive favour if Sholing fail to win at Eynsham Park on tuesday in the Boatmen's game in hand on The Stags.

AFC Totton                                          North Leigh
Grant Porter                                          Beames
Aidan Lewis                                          Hole
Jamie Whisken                                     Hopkins
Nathan Campbell                                  Clark (Off)
Michael Green                                       Huxley
Jonathan Davies (Off)                           Franklin
Carl Pettefer (C)                                   Thorne (Off)
Ryan Scott                                            Bowles (Off)
Michael Gosney                                    Caton
Nathaniel Sherborne (Off)                    Sanders
Stefan Brown                                        Dutton-Black

Subs                                                      Subs
Ian Richardson                                      McCabe (On)
Callum Davies                                       Reardon (On)
Mark Osman (On)                                 Saunders (On)
Michael Charles (On)                            Lonsdale

Goals: Sherborne (23), Whisken (36), Gosney (90).

Referee: Mr A Shilston.
Assistants: Mr M Payne & Mr S Glyde.

Attendance: 153.

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