Wednesday, 14 September 2011

St Albans City 3-4 AFC Totton, 13/09/11 7:45pm


After the fantastic 3-0 win at big-spending Brackley Town on Saturday, Totton were on a real high going into this Tuesday evening game against another team tipped to be near the top at the business end of the season. While Totton beat Brackley, Danny Hart and Jerome Walker scored to give St Albans a 2-0 home win over Redditch United. Totton switched back to 4-4-2 for this game after starting with a five-man midfield against Brackley. Nathaniel Sherborne and Michael Charles started together up front, but there were changes in midfield, where James Coutts came in for Jon Davies on the right, and at the back Matt Oldring started at left back instead of Tom Baddeley after his impressive display on Saturday.

St Albans got off to the perfect start in this game when, with just 3 minutes on the clock, Ryan Watts sent in a low cross that was turned home from close range by Tobi Jinadu. Totton responded well to this early setback and had a good chance after 5 minutes when Michael Charles headed over from James Coutts' cross to the far post. A foul on Charles 20 yards from goal in the 10th minute then gave The Stags a free kick. Ryan Hill took it and sent a low shot towards the bottom corner which Saints goalkeeper Will Viner did well to get down to and turn away from goal. Sherborne got to the ball first from the rebound but was flagged for offside.

But Totton didn't have long to wait to grab an equaliser. Charles played a perfect through ball for Sherborne to run onto and he slotted the ball just inside the post. Totton were level for just under 10 minutes before taking the lead for the first time in the game. Mike Gosney launched a long throw-in towards Nathan Campbell in the box. Campbell flicked the ball on with his head and it fell to left back Matt Oldring who had come forward for a corner moments previously. Oldring took one touch to flick the ball up in front of him and then swivelled to send a brilliant volley into the top corner over the head of the defender on the line with Viner rooted to the spot.

The game continued to be quite even between the two teams until the 38th minute when the most significant moment of the game so far occurred. From a Gosney corner, Jamie Whisken sent a header towards goal but the ball was blocked on the line by the arm of defender Jack Pattison. Referee Adrian Gillett had no hesitation in giving Pattison his marching orders and pointing to the spot. Viner went the right way but was never getting to the ball as Gosney's penalty had too much pace and power on it as it found the bottom corner.

Half time: St Albans City 1-3 AFC Totton

St Albans started the second half the same way they started the first; with a goal. A cross into the box was headed down by half-time substitute Barrie Matthews and Tobi Jinadu shot past Grant Porter for his and his team's second goal of the game. But as quickly as The Saints had got themselves back into the game, they were back out of it again. Matt Oldring crossed from the left to Michael Charles in the box who took the ball on his chest and sent a volley over his shoulder and into the top corner for 4-2.

For the remainder of the match the 10 men of St Albans completely outplayed Totton's 11 men. And their superiority paid off with 10 minutes to go. A long ball through the middle split the Totton defence and Sakho Bakare ran onto it to slide the ball past the on-rushing Grant Porter and give the home fans hope in the dying minutes.

Totton continued to be pegged back and Grant Porter was booked for time-wasting over a goal kick. The Stags tried to waste a bit more time by holding the ball in the corner for as long as possible but lost the ball every time. Fortunately the Totton defence stood firm against the late onslaught and we held on for all 3 points.

Full time: St Albans City 3-4 AFC Totton

Totton were lucky not to come away with just a point from this game. And, credit to St Albans, it would have been a deserved point for them as they put Totton under constant pressure in the second half as they tried to get themselves back in the game. At times it looked like it was The Stags who were a man short and not The Saints, who were superb and will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season. Next up for Totton is an FA Cup qualifier against Evo-Stik Division One Central strugglers Fleet Town. The tie will be played at the Testwood Stadium this Saturday at 3pm.

St Albans City: Viner, Pattison, Ralph, Ijaha, Cutchey, Jinadu, Hart, Solomon Shields (Matthews 46 mins), Haworth (Bakare 45), Walker (Sean Shields 71), Watts. Unused subs: Jupp, Haisley.

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Richardson, Whisken, Oldring, Coutts (Davies 56), Pettefer, Campbell, Gosney, Sherborne (Baddeley 85), Charles (Osman 71). Unused subs: Lewis, Tomasso.

Goals: St Albans: Jinadu (3 & 48), Bakare (80).
          AFC Totton: Sherborne (13), Oldring (22), Gosney (38 penalty), Charles (49).

Officials: Referee: Mr A Gillett. Assistants: Mr A Groves & Mr S Borham.

Attendance: 329.

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