Monday, 5 September 2011

AFC Totton 2-1 Barwell, 03/09/11 3pm


After getting back to winning ways against Weymouth on Monday, Totton faced Barwell at the Testwood Stadium hoping to continue our fantastic start to the season. The Stags were missing Mike Gosney who had an eye complaint, and striker Stefan Brown who had a minor neck injury. Aidan Lewis, making his first start of the season, started on the right with Jon Davies switching to the left in Gosney's absence, while Michael Charles and Nathaniel Sherborne started together up front. Barwell had victory snatched from them at the death in their last game as Stourbridge scored a late equaliser to draw 2-2.

Totton continued their trend of scoring early goals this season when, in the 10th minute, Nathaniel Sherborne cut inside from wide on the right and curled a superb shot into the far top corner that gave Barwell keeper Liam Castle no chance. Jon Davies could have doubled the lead almost immediately when his similar effort from the opposite side flew just wide of the post.

In a rare Barwell attack, Kevin Charley had a shot on goal but it was straight at Grant Porter and the keeper made an easy catch. Liam Castle then came to Barwell's rescue when a Ryan Hill free kick from the left was met by Michael Charles, but his header from 5 yards out was saved at point-blank range by Castle and the ball was cleared. Charles put another header wide 2 minutes later.

With 10 minutes to go until half time, Barwell began to put pressure on the Totton defence. Jamie Towers crossed to Kevin Charley and his shot was saved well by Porter. Moments later, however, Barwell were given a way back into the match. Ryan Hill was alleged to have fouled Jai Stanley in the box as he tried to shoot and Scott Rickards stepped up to despatch the spot kick and send Porter the wrong way. Hill himself was then denied a penalty when he went down in the area up the other end of the pitch but the referee waved play on. In the last few seconds of the first half, Rickards took a corner kick that struck the near post and went out for a goal kick.

Half time: AFC Totton 1-1 Barwell

Not long into the second half, Totton could have regained the lead. The ball was played down the right for Michael Charles to chase but Canaries keeper Liam Castle rushed out of his goal to get there first. His clearance fell to Jon Davies 40 yards out and he could have tried to score with Castle out on the right leaving his goal unguarded but Davies played the ball in-field to try and set up an attack that lead to nothing as Castle got back on his line.

Totton were then close to scoring in bizarre fashion when, following a stoppage for an injury, the referee instructed Sherborne to play the ball back to Liam Castle in the Barwell goal. Sherborne sent the ball back towards Castle, but it was hit with considerable force and cannoned off the corner of the goal frame where the post and crossbar meet. With 65 minutes on the clock, Barwell were reduced to 10 men. Jai Stanley, who had already been booked, brought down Davies in midfield and the referee gave him his marching orders, much to the delight of the home crowd, as they felt Stanley should have gone 2 or 3 times before his eventual red card.

With just under 20 minutes remaining, Totton substitute Mark Osman headed against the bar from a cross from the right, and then 3 minutes later shot past the post when through on goal with only Castle to beat. Totton were then denied a possible goalscoring opportunity by the officials. Nathaniel Sherborne was in an offside position when Carl Pettefer played a defence-splitting pass through the middle. As the linesman raised his flag Davies ran onto it from an onside position. The linesman lowered his flag but the referee blew for offside against Sherborne who was nowhere near the ball and not interfering with play.

There was a fair chunk of added time at the end of the game as Barwell had taken their time with substitutions and there were stoppages for injuries on both teams. In the 7th minute of added time Guy Sanders conceded a free kick 30 yards from goal. With no Mike Gosney in the side it was up to Totton's other dead-ball specialist Ryan Hill to produced the goods. And produce he did. He stepped up to take the free kick and sent the ball perfectly into the bottom corner past the outstretched fingertips of Liam Castle to win the game for The Stags and send the home fans wild.

Full Time: AFC Totton 2-1 Barwell

What a way to win a game. Ryan Hill's 97th minute free kick and Jai Stanley's dismissal were the difference between the two sides in this game. Totton showed that when we need to, we can win ugly, and that even without 2 or 3 first team regulars, the players we have on the bench and in reserve are more than capable of being part of a side good enough to beat teams in this league. The next game is Saturday 10th September when The Stags travel to Brackley Town for a clash between 2nd and 1st place.

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Whisken, Richardson, Baddeley (Oliver 90 mins), Lewis, Pettefer, Campbell, J Davies, Charles (Osman 63), Sherborne. Unused subs: Oldring, C Davies, Flooks.

Barwell: Castle, Stanley, Dodd, Sanders, Rowley, Rickards, Towers (Hamilton 83), Hadland, Barlone (Harris 76), Charley (Pearson 80), Julien. Unused subs: Lower, Green.

Goals: AFC Totton: Sherborne (10), Hill (90+7)
           Barwell: Richards (37 pen)

Officials: Referee: Mr A Bird. Assistants: Mr N Sykes & Mr M Yeats.

Attendance: 388.

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