Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Pre-Season Friendly: Romsey Town 1-4 AFC Totton, 02/08/11 7:45pm


Totton hopped over the M27 on Tuesday night for a friendly against Romsey Town. The Stags went into the game on the back of a defeat to Thatcham Town in the final of the Linden Homes Tournament on Sunday. Thatcham triumphed 1-0, although Totton played a team made up almost entirely of trialists and youth players, with the exception of right-back Aidan Lewis and goalkeeper Grant Porter.

The game was very much end-to-end in the first 10 minutes but neither side could make the telling pass in the final third. The first real chance came after 12 minutes. Mark Osman did well to retain possession out wide on the right and cut inside. His cross was headed clear as far as Mike Gosney on the edge of the box who shaped to shoot with his weaker right foot, but the shot was blazed high over the bar. The impressive Tom Baddley then ran onto Stefan Brown's defence-splitting pass down the left wing before whipping in a cross to the far side of the box where trialist David Abe played the ball back into the mix, but it was cleared to safety by the Romsey defence.

On 24 minutes, David Abe could, and maybe should, have put Totton in front. The winger rose high above everyone else to head a Gosney corner well over the bar from 6 yards out. Moments later, another corner from Gosney was headed wide by defender Jamie Whisken. Romsey soon took advantage of those two let-offs as they gained the lead on 28 minutes. A long ball down the right was chased by Simon De'ath who outran Tom Baddley to stick a leg out and send the ball over the stranded Warren Carter with a well-executed lob.

Totton could have been level 5 minutes later. Yet another corner from Gosney was brought down by David Abe. He then laid the ball off to Osman who shot through a packed penalty area and straight at the goalkeeper. With just 2 minutes to go until half time, Totton grabbed an equaliser. Abe played a low cross into the box where Stefan Brown collected the ball, kept it under control despite pressure from 3 defenders, and sent a shot into the corner of the goal with the keeper rooted to the spot. If it looked as if the two teams would go in level at the break, a handball by a Romsey defender just inside the box with seconds remaining put paid to that. Mike Gosney stepped up to coolly despatch the spot kick, sending the keeper the wrong way.

Half time: Romsey Town 1-2 AFC Totton

Totton made just one change at half time; Grant Porter taking over duties between the sticks as Warren Carter made way. 7 minutes into the second half Romsey came within a whisker of being back on level terms. As a low cross from the right flew across the face of goal, the slightest touch from anyone, attacker or defender, would have put the ball in the net. Instead, the ball rolled harmlessly away for Aidan Lewis to clear.

On 56 minutes Totton received a free kick out wide on the right. Gosney sent the ball towards the far post where substitute Michael Charles was running to meet it, but a flick off the head of a defender sent the ball just out of Charles' reach and wide of the post. From the resulting corner, Stefan Brown's headed effort was off target.

For the next 25 minutes, both sides made numerous substitutions and the game slowed down, with the odd chance coming at either end. With just under 10 minutes to go Totton suddenly came to life again. Nathaniel Sherborne, on as a sub, crossed from the right to Charles who was inches away from getting his head on the end of it.

A minute later, though, and The Stags did extend their lead. In a reversal of the chance moments previously, Charles was the one to cross for Sherborne, along the ground this time, and his side-footed shot from close range gave the keeper no chance. Straight from the restart, Romsey surrendered possession and conceded a free kick on the right. Gosney delivered and Charles ran round the back of the defence to send the ball just inside the post with a stooping header for 4-1. Those 2 goals in 2 minutes knocked the stuffing out of Romsey and Totton had a couple of chances to further increase the advantage as the clock ticked down, but there was nothing more to get excited about.

Full time: Romsey Town 1-4 AFC Totton

Another good workout for the team, and a third pre-season victory. There were a lot of positives to take out of the game and some good performances from trialists. Matt Oldring was very composed at centre back and even better when he moved out to left back after Tom Baddley, who had another good game, was substituted. David Abe also impressed on his first appearance and reportedly signed his registration papers with the club last night.

AFC Totton: Carter (Porter 46 mins), Lewis (Tomasso 74), Baddley (Flooks 67), Oldring, Whisken, Wilkinson (Thorne 72), Pettefer, Abe (House 74), Gosney, Osman (Charles 55), Brown (Sherborne 74).

Goals: Romsey Town: De'ath (28 mins)
           AFC Totton: Brown (43), Gosney (pen 44), Sherborne (81), Charles (83).

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