Sunday, 24 July 2011

Pre-Season Friendly: AFC Totton 3-2 Farnborough, 23/7/11 3pm


In stark contrast to the gloomy weather of Wednesday evening against Southampton, bright blue skies and scorching sunshine were the order of the day at the Testwood Stadium on this Saturday afternoon. Totton, playing in their yellow away kit, faced last season's Conference South play-off finalists Farnborough, whose side was largely made up of trialists.

Totton started on the front foot straight away as Mike Gosney and Michael Charles did well to work some space out wide on the left. Gosney played a low cross into the box that Carl Pettefer got on the end of with a side-footed shot that was an inch wide of the post after just 30 seconds. And The Stags' early pressure soon paid off as they took the lead after 8 minutes. Nathan Campbell played an excellent long ball out to the left wing that Gosney ran onto and controlled well before fizzing another low cross along the ground to Charles who fired the ball into the roof of the net for 1-0.

5 minutes later and it could easily have been 2-0 after a ball played over the top of the defence for Osman lured Paul Walker off his line. Osman and Walker both went for the ball, with Osman just getting there first and stretching out a leg to flick the ball over the Farnborough goalkeeper and agonisingly wide of the post. Totton were then awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal. Gosney and Ryan Hill both stood over the ball and it was Hill who stepped up to curl the ball towards goal, only to see it tipped onto the post by Walker. A minute later and Walker was in the thick of it again. The ball was played back to him and he hesitated for too long, allowing Charles to charge down his attempted clearance. The ball ricocheted off the Totton striker's leg and seemed to be heading for goal but just clipped the post and was cleared by a defender.

In the 24th minute Totton did finally double their lead. A ball over the top was brought down and controlled brilliantly by Osman, who then did well to prevent a goal kick before playing in another low cross that found Charles, who just managed to squeeze a shot under Walker as he dived for it. For the last 15 minutes of the first half, Farnborough began to get more of a foothold in the game. An Esmond James corner was headed inches over the bar by Ashley Winn on the half-hour mark, before Winn was thwarted by Richardson who blocked his shot from 12 yards.

In the 40th minute, however, Totton produced a brilliant move. Gosney kept the ball in play under pressure from Kazaboni and managed to lose his marker to send over a cross to the far post. Charles leapt to head the ball back across the box where Osman was waiting, but his header from point blank range was somehow clawed away by Walker in the Farnborough goal and the ball was cleared. With a minute to go before half time, Farnborough halved the deficit when Michael Built found himself clean through on goal 1-on-1 with Carter and easily placed the ball into the top corner.

Half Time: AFC Totton 2-1 Farnborough.

At half time, Stuart Ritchie brought off goalkeeper Warren Carter to be replaced by Grant Porter, and up front Mark Osman made way for Stefan Brown. With barely a minute of the second half gone, Jon Davies made a good run down the right and cut inside, trying his luck from an angle and shooting into the side netting. Charles then played a neat one-two with Brown in the box before the latter turned the defender and put his shot just wide of the post. Charles was then involved again as he collected the ball from Davies and, from a tight angle, fired straight at Walker.

5 minutes later and Charles was at it again. Totton were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box, with Gosney and Davies over it. Gosney ran up, stepped over the ball which was then rolled into Charles' path by Davies. Once again, Charles' shot was straight down the keeper's throat. On 66 minutes Immanuel 'Manny' Soetan replaced Charles and produced some extremely fast runs to get to every ball before the opposition. Like the Southampton game though, there was a distinct lack of end product from Manny.

In the 71st minute he had obviously heard us discussing this in the stands as he went on a surging run down the left wing before delivering a good cross to Brown, who then laid the ball off for Davies to curl a shot towards the top corner. Walker flung himself through the air and managed to turn the ball behind. With a quarter of an hour remaining Totton restored their 2-goal advantage. Brown held the ball up in the box as he waited for support, which arrived in the form of Jon Davies who slammed home an unstoppable low drive into the bottom corner for 3-1. Shortly after the goal, a bit of handbags on the halfway line resulted in a card apiece for both teams.

With 3 minutes to go Totton should have been out of sight. The ball was played back to Walker by his Farnborough team mates and, not for the first time in the game, he was closed down quickly by a Totton player. This time it was Manny Soetan who used his lightning speed to close in on Walker and dispossess him, but unfortunately he was forced slightly wide, allowing a defender to get back on the line while Walker was still getting up on the edge of the box. Luckily for Farnborough they didn't need anyone on the line as Soetan switched the ball onto his right foot and fired a shot into the side netting when it seemed easier to score.

A Michael Built shot in the 90th minute was cleared off the line and that appeared to be the last chance for Farnborough. A minute later, however, the referee saw something which no one else in the ground appeared to see and awarded the visitors a penalty. Staforde Palmer stepped up to send Porter the wrong way with the last kick of the game.

Full time: AFC Totton 3-2 Farnborough.

The Stags finally recorded their first win of pre-season against a very good Farnborough side. One win, one draw, one defeat from the 3 games played so far. The visitors played some attractive football at times but Totton more than matched them and were good value for their win as Michael Charles scored twice against his old team. Up next for Totton is their third home friendly in a row, this Tuesday against Salisbury City, 7:45pm kick off.

AFC Totton: Carter (Porter 46 mins), Hill (Lewis 55), Baddley (Holmes 75), Whisken (Oldring 55), Richardson (Hodnett 70), Campbell, Pettefer (Wilkinson 65), Davies (Davis 75), Gosney, Osman (Brown 46), Charles (Soetan 67).

Farnborough: Walker, Kazaboni, Catlyn, Appiah, Bygrave, Anzevui, James, Winn, Palmer, Built, Smith. Subs: Pearson, Eames, Pattison, Yiadom, Tokrczyk.

Officials: Referee: Mr W Bull. Assistants: Miss L May & Mr G Parsons.

Attendance: 180.

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