Monday, 20 February 2012

AFC Totton 3-1 Evesham United, 18/02/12 3pm


It was a year ago this weekend that Totton began life at their new Testwood Stadium home with a 5-1 win over Paulton Rovers in the Zamaretto League South & West Division. A year on, The Stags were hoping to celebrate that anniversary with another 3 points towards achieving promotion for a second successive season.

It's been a while since Totton were last in league action thanks to the Arctic weather conditions over the last few weeks.

Frozen pitches across the country have meant only 2 games in the last 3 weeks for Totton; the 7-2 defeat of AFC Portchester in the Hampshire Senior Cup quarter finals and a 6-1 win over North Greenford United in the Red Insure Cup quarter finals.

In the reverse fixture back in October, Evesham won 1-0 thanks to a Craig Wilding goal, while Totton had Ryan Scott sent off.

New signing Ryan Moss scored a hattrick on his debut in the game against North Greenford and was named in the starting line up for this game in a three-man attack along with Nathaniel Sherborne and Nathan Jack.

There was a place on the bench for new loan signing from Portsmouth, Lewis Stockford, but there was no Michael Charles as the striker has joined former club Farnborough on a one month loan.

It had poured down for an hour or so before kick off and the game started slowly as both teams struggled to cope with the awful conditions.

The driving rain and strong winds played havoc with the ball spending more time in the air than on the pitch for the first 5 minutes or so.

Totton were the first to settle down and play though and on 7 minutes they took the lead. Mike Gosney controlled the ball in midfield and ran to the edge of the box before playing a defence-splitting pass for Nathaniel Sherborne to run onto before rounding the keeper and slotting home.

Evesham responded well to this setback and looked the more likely to score during the remainder of the first half.

They won a free kick shortly after the goal which was comfortably held by Grant Porter and then a 25 yard shot by Evesham's Jack Winter was deflected just wide by Benjamin Pugh,

For all their attacking intent, Evesham were usually restricted to shots from distance by the Totton defence and Josh Quaynor fired wide with a 30 yard strike on 20 minutes.

A minute before half time Totton twice came close to grabbing a second goal against the run of play. Nathan Jack found time and space to shoot but his effort was parried by Daniel Platt in the Evesham goal and the ball was eventually cleared.

Gosney then tested the keeper with a shot from 25 yards out that was saved and pushed out to Ryan Moss, but the new number 9 was flagged for offside.

Half time: AFC Totton 1-0 Evesham United

After the break the game became very scrappy as the weather picked up again after seeming to calm down during half time.

Players were slipping on the wet surface, defenders found it difficult to get the ball away, strikers couldn't find the target and both goalkeepers had very little to do.

Eventually the weather subsided and the improved conditions coincided with the timing of Totton's second goal.

Just after the hour mark Totton got a corner. Nathan Jack played it short to Gosney and his first time cross found Sherborne who got above his marker to head the ball past Platt and into the far corner.

Ryan Hill then stung Platt's palms with a rasping shot from an angle 25 yards out that swerved and had to be pushed behind for a corner.

Evesham had deserved a goal for their efforts during the game, although their goal on 86 minutes was slightly against the run of play.

Quaynor received the ball on the edge of the box and turned Jamie Whisken before running to the by-line and playing a low cross for Henry Eze to slide in ahead of Ross Bottomley and poke it over the line.

The Robins pushed for an equaliser in the last few minutes and their attacking intent left them vulnerable to a counter attack.

Substitute Stefan Brown raced away down the right and, with Platt stranded in the middle of his box, lobbed the ball up and over the helpless goalkeeper and it bounced safely over the line to make certain all 3 points.

Full time: AFC Totton 3-1 Evesham United

1 year on from that first game at the Testwood Stadium against Paulton Rovers, Totton are still pushing for promotion, but this time a division higher. The 3 points from this game keep up the pressure at the top on Brackley, who have played 2 games more than The Stags. Stefan Brown's goal was a mirror image of the goal he scored against Paulton 12 months ago when he lobbed the keeper at the other end and with his opposite foot. If you play the videos of the two goals side by side they should look almost identical.

Next up for Totton is one of our games in hand on Brackley as we travel to Swindon Supermarine who are struggling down in 21st place, 2nd from bottom. Then this weekend, a big game in the promotion race with a trip to Cambridge City, who currently side 3rd, 4 points behind Totton having played 2 games more.

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Whisken, Bottomley, Richardson, Campbell, Pettefer, Gosney, Jack (Davies 81), Moss, Sherborne (Brown 87). Unused subs: Stockford, Knight, Osman.

Evesham United: Platt, Wilson, Tasker, Daniel, Eze, Fitter, Wilding, Pugh (Spencer 80), Palmer, Quaynor. Unused subs: Keen, Clarke.

Totton: Sherborne (7 & 62), Brown (90)
Evesham: Eze (86)

Officials: Referee: Mr R Hulme. Assistants: Mr K Williams & Mr A Fricker.

Attendance: 406.