Sunday, 8 January 2012

AFC Totton 3-0 Chesham United, 07/01/11 3pm


After torrential rain and near-hurricane force winds all week, the skies cleared on Friday just in time for the football. Totton were hoping to get back to winning ways after two straight defeats, away at Chippenham and Weymouth. In this game we came up against promotion chasing Chesham United. The Generals aren't exactly on fire either at the moment. Despite their lofty position of 2nd place, they have won only once in their last 6 before this game and that was in their last match when they beat Arlesey Town 2-0 at home. On loan Bournemouth goalkeeper Dan Thomas started between the sticks for Totton, but returning defender Ross Bottomley wasn't registered in time for the game and had to make do with watching on from the sidelines.

Chesham made a good start, with Chris Watters sending a shot wide of the post in the 4th minute. Then a free kick was won out wide on the right but it was taken quickly with no one else ready and rolled out for a goal kick.

2 minutes later Chesham were awarded another free kick in an almost identical position to the last. This time though, they managed to make more of it. The free kick was swung over towards the far post where Rob Bartley rose highest but sent his header a whisker wide of the upright.

With 10 minutes played Totton won a free kick on the right. It was played in by Mike Gosney and Jamie Whisken just failed to get his head on the ball as it went straight into the keeper's hands.

Up the other end, Chesham came close again when a cross came in and Simon Thomas' header seemed to be heading for the back of the net until it was cleared off the line with Dan Thomas wrong-footed.

After Steve Wales stung the palms of Dan Thomas with a long range strike, Totton were denied a corner when Michael Charles was clean through on goal and his shot was deflected wide, but the referee gave Chesham a goal kick.

With almost a quarter of an hour gone, Totton were given the chance to take the lead. Jon Davies played a lobbed ball over the defence for Charles. The striker timed his run well to remain onside, but his progress was brought to an abrupt halt just inside the box by Rob Bartley.

The referee pointed to the spot and, after waving away the Chesham players' protests, showed Bartley a straight red card. Mike Gosney (as usual) scored the penalty, sending Shane Gore the wrong way.

This was becoming a game of free kicks, and shortly after the penalty, Chesham came close with yet another set piece. The free kick was headed behind at the far post.

Gosney's low cross on 25 minutes found Michael Charles and his first time shot was blocked by a defender and went behind for a corner.

From the corner, Ian Richardson headed the ball back across goal and Charles' header beat Gore but failed to beat the woodwork as it came down off the underside of the crossbar and was cleared for a throw-in.

Chris Watters then came closer to the corner flag than the goal with a wayward shot from the edge of the box.

Gosney was booked for a foul with less than 5 minutes to go in the first half, but then made amends by clearing the resulting free kick.

Half time: AFC Totton 1-0 Chesham United

3 minutes into the second half Chesham were denied twice in just a few seconds. First, a lobbed shot over Dan Thomas was headed off the line by Ryan Hill, then a shot from the edge of the box cannoned off the bottom of the post and went out for a goal kick.

For the next 20 minutes the game became a bit scrappy with both sides having one or two half chances, but Chesham had the lion's share of possession.

Nathaniel Sherborne, who had come on in place of Stefan Brown earlier in the second half, then sparked the crowd into life when he skipped past 3 Chesham players to get into a good goal-scoring position, but he couldn't beat the final defender who managed to get a leg in front of the shot and the ball rolled harmlessly into the keeper's hands.

Sherborne was then presented with a golden opportunity to double the lead when the Chesham left back slipped, allowing Charles to get into the box. His run drew the keeper out of his goal and he squared the ball to Sherborne who scooped a shot high over the open goal.

Gosney was replaced by Nathan Jack with 20 minutes remaining and the substitute single-handedly made sure of all 3 points for Totton.

First, on 75 minutes, Jack received the ball out wide on the left an cut inside, beating 2 Chesham defenders on the way, before curling a brilliant effort into the top corner with his right foot.

Then, with 2 minutes of normal time to play, Davies did well to get past a couple of Chesham players down the right and ran to the edge of the box. With Nathan Jack unmarked to his left, he played the ball across and Jack let fly with a left footed strike that flew inside the near post to put the result beyond doubt.

Full time: AFC Totton 3-0 Chesham United

Not exactly a vintage display by Totton, but the players got the job done in the end. Chesham outplayed us for most of the game, even with 10 men. But despite their dominance, the away side hardly had a shot on target in the game. The introduction of Nathan Jack in the second half made all the difference as he pretty much won the game on his own. So Totton still aren't playing at their best, but 3 points is 3 points and for now that will do. But the standard will have to raise for the visit of top-of-the-table Brackley Town next Saturday.

AFC Totton: Thomas, Hill, Whisken, Richardson, Baddeley, Davies, Campbell, Pettefer, Gosney (Jack 69), Brown (Sherborne 56), Charles (Osman 84). Unused subs: Porter, McKie.

Chesham United: Gore, Kyriacou, Gudgeon, Lambert, Bartley, Wilson (Thomas 81), Fotheringham, Wales, Potton (Archer 74), Thomas, Watters (Wadkins 69). Unused subs: Watson, Elenge.

Totton: Gosney (15 pen), Jack (75, 88).

Officials: Referee: Mr C Wade. Assistants: Mr B Williamson & Mr S Tobin.

Attendance: 579.

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