Wednesday, 5 October 2011

AFC Totton 3-0 Cirencester Town, 04/10/11 7:45pm


After an FA Cup outing against Clevedon Town at the weekend, Totton were back in league action on Tuesday night as we welcomed Cirencester Town to the Testwood Stadium. The Centurions are struggling at the wrong end of the table in the early part of the season as they sit 2nd from bottom with just 1 win and 6 points to their name so far.

The game got off to the best possible start for The Stags when, after just 2 minutes, Michael Charles lobbed the ball over Cirencester keeper Kevin Sawyer from a tight angle and it bounced over the line via the underside of the crossbar. 3 minutes later Cirencester got a free kick 25 yards from goal. The ball was player towards the far post where Nathan Campbell headed it away only as far as a Cirencester player on the edge of the box but his shot was rushed and he skewed it well wide of the goal.

On 12 minutes Totton doubled their advantage. A free kick was won right on the byline out near the corner flag to the left of goal. Mike Gosney hit it low and hard across goal into the packed 6 yard box and Charles was well placed to knock the ball in from a yard out. Moments later Cirencester nearly got themselves back in the game when a rasping shot from the edge of the box narrowly cleared the top of the crossbar with Grant Porter rooted to the spot.

The away side began to put together a good spell of sustained pressure after that chance, and with 20 minutes gone they won 2 corners in quick succession. The first one was too high for anyone to get their heads on and Ryan Scott touched the ball behind for a corner from the opposite side. From that second corner Grant Porter did well to come off his line and punch the ball away, but it only reached the feet of a Cirencester player 20 yards from goal who controlled it well before unleashing a powerful driven shot that cannoned off the top of the crossbar and looped up and out of the ground.

Cirencester continued to pile on the pressure and they poured forward at every opportunity as they searched for a way back into the game. With just short of 10 minutes to go until the break they should have halved the deficit. Mike Tambling broke through the Totton defence with ease and as he bore down on goal Grant Porter rushed off his line to meet him and made a brilliant one-on-one save with his feet. The ball fell to another Cirencester attacker in the box but his shot was blocked well by Tom Baddeley and the ball trickled harmlessly into Porter's arms.

Half time: AFC Totton 2-0 Cirencester Town

The first 15 minutes of the second half were very sluggish, with no clear-cut chances for either side. But on the hour mark the game suddenly sprung into life again. Nathaniel Sherborne had a shot turned over the crossbar by Sawyer, and from the resulting corner the ball went over everyone and fell to Carl Pettefer on the other side. He played the ball back into the penalty area and Nathan Campbell rose highest to send the ball goalwards with his head, only to see Sawyer tip his effort over as well. From the second corner Sherborne put the ball over the bar for a goal kick.

3 minutes later and Campbell came close again. A free kick was awarded out near the touchline and Gosney whipped it in low towards the keeper. Campbell slid in to try and get to the ball before Sawyer but it just evaded his outstretched foot and the keeper was able to clear. Up the other end, Ryan Hill gave the ball away in a dangerous area but Tambling had maybe more time than he realised and hurried his shot, sending it the wrong side of the post. Not long after this minor scare, Totton made the game safe with a 3rd goal. From Ryan Hill's long throw-in, Sherborne knocked the ball back to Gosney who drilled his shot home from 12 yards.

With a quarter of an hour remaining a handball decision was given against Cirencester keeper Kevin Sawyer. A long ball over the top for substitute Stefan Brown to run onto drew Sawyer off his line to the edge of the box where he reached out and grabbed the ball before Brown could get his foot to it. The assistant referee raised his flag as it appeared the ball was still outside of the area when Sawyer caught it. The handball resulted in a free kick which Ryan Hill took but the ball sailed over the bar.

2 minutes from time Totton were given another free kick. Cirencester captain Richard Mansell brought down James Coutts after the Totton substitute had tried to go past him out by the left touchline. Gosney took the set piece and sent a curling shot just high and wide of the far top corner of the goal.

Full time: AFC Totton 3-0 Cirencester Town

A good result and another 3 points for Totton who are back to winning ways in the league after the defeat to Hitchin in the last game. Cirencester gave us a very good game and their performance was not that of a team languishing in 21st place in the league table, on this evidence they should get themselves away from the basement and up the table in no time. Next up for The Stags is a trip to Worcester City on Saturday. No, that's not a misprint. We are playing Evesham but as they have not moved into their new ground yet, the game will be played at St George's Lane, home of Conference North club Worcester City. See you all there!

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Campbell, Oldring, Baddeley, Davies (Coutts 72), Scott, Pettefer, Gosney, Sherborne (Osman 76), Charles (Brown 68). Unused subs: Lewis, Tomasso.

Cirencester Town: Sawyer, Wilson, Mansell, Sysum (Gunn 80), Mayo, Henry, Reid (Dunton 78), Mortimer-Jones, Tambling, Else, Westlake. Unused subs: Etheridge.

Goals: AFC Totton: Charles (2, 12), Gosney (68).

Officials: Referee: Mr A Tranter. Assistants: Mr R Magrath & Mr I Bardsley.

Attendance: 377.

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