Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Hemel Hempstead Town 0-3 AFC Totton, 23/08/11 7:45pm


After travelling up on the coach for this game, we arrived at Vauxhall Road much earlier than anticipated after a pretty smooth journey up to Hemel Hempstead, so some of us wasted an hour in the local pub, The Crabtree. Lovely place. Anyway, team news. Defender Jamie Whisken was available again for Totton after missing the 4-0 victory over Swindon Supermarine due to family commitments, and despite his hat trick in that game, Nathaniel Sherborne remained on the bench in favour of Michael Charles partnering Stefan Brown in attack. Hemel Hempstead have yet to win this season and their last game was a 1-0 defeat at Redditch United.

The fans had barely taken their place in the stands when Totton took the lead in the 2nd minute. We won a throw-in on the right and Ryan Hill launched the ball into the box with a long throw. Nathan Campbell leapt with 2 defenders and it was unclear who got the flick on, but that didn't really matter because the ball fell to Michael Charles 4 yards out in the centre of goal to volley the ball past Hemel goalkeeper Mike McEntergart for his first goal of the season.

The travelling Totton fans were barely catching their breath from celebrating the first goal when the net bulged again. Mike Gosney delivered a cross from the left and Charles did well to control the ball and turn to fire the ball low past the keeper for 2-0. After that blistering start by The Stags, the game evened out and both sides were playing some good football. Totton could have been 3-0 up 10 minutes after the 2nd goal when Carl Pettefer's cross from the right was met by Gosney 6 yards out but he couldn't get a proper connection on the ball and it was wide of the far post.

From a Gosney throw-in, Jon Davies then had a go from the edge of the box but his rising shot was straight at McEntergart and the keeper made a comfortable catch. Hemel then came close to halving the deficit when a Liam Malone shot from 35 yards cannoned off the crossbar and over for a goal kick. With half an hour gone, Gosney whipped in a cross that Michael Charles was close to getting on the end of, and with a bit more curl on the cross, the ball might have found it's way inside the far post but ended up going just wide. After a neat one-two between Davies and Charles, the latter crossed to Stefan Brown in the box, but his shot was blocked and almost fell for Gosney but the ball was cleared. Jake Gilbert then fired high and wide for Hemel in the last chance for either side in the first half.

Half time: Hemel Hempstead Town 0-2 AFC Totton

On 56 minutes Totton were inches away from a third goal. Gosney collected the ball out wide on the left and played it in-field to the corner of the 18-yard box where he unleashed a powerful shot that went across goal but flew agonisingly wide of the far post. Two minutes later and Totton made the scoreline a lot more comfortable for themselves with a 3rd goal.

After a long ball over the top, Mike McEntergart in the Hemel goal came charging out to try and get there before Michael Charles who was chasing it down with a defender snapping at his heels. The ball fell and hit McEntergart's shin and bounced back to Charles who took it past the keeper and rolled it into the empty net to complete his hat trick, and Totton's second of the season after Nathaniel Sherborne's treble against Swindon Supermarine at the weekend.

After the 3rd goal, the game was very end-to-end, with both sides having chances to score. Totton found themselves on the back foot quite often in the last half an hour and with a quarter of an hour remaining, Hemel Hempstead thought they'd got a goal back. After a cross from the right there was melee in the box with Grant Porter making two saves on the goal-line in a matter of seconds. The ball pinged off towards the right where it was played straight back in and ended up in the back of the net, though from our end it was difficult to tell who got the final touch. It didn't matter though as the Hemel celebrations were cut short by the linesman who flagged for offside.

Full time: Hemel Hempstead 0-3 AFC Totton

Who'd have thought it? After 4 games Totton are top of the table with 4 wins out of 4, scoring 15 goals and conceding 0; the only club in the league yet to concede a goal this season. Stuart Ritchie's decision not to start with Sherborne after his hat trick heroics against Swindon and instead stick with Michael Charles up front proved a masterstroke as Charles grabbed his own hat trick in this game. Our next game is this Saturday (August 27th) away at Leamington, who are 3rd in the league and one of the favourites for promotion this season.

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Whisken, Richardson, Baddeley, Davies (Coutts 69 mins), Pettefer, Campbell, Gosney, Brown (Osman 81), Charles (Sherborne 75). Unused subs: Lewis, Oldring.

Hemel Hempstead Town: Mike McEntergart, May, Clayton, Smith, Goodhind (Morgan Williams 82), Matthew McEntergart, Malone, Gilbert (Stead 54), Toomey (Gorman 90), Marvin Williams, Blake. Unused subs: Rydeheard, Reading.

Goals: AFC Totton: Charles (2, 4, 58 mins)

Officials: Referee: Mr J Scott. Assistants: Mr A Anastasiou & Mr C Reid.

Attendance: 148.

(For food and drink scores click on 'Burger League' tab at the top of the page.)

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