Sunday, 18 March 2012

AFC Totton 0-0 Redditch United, 17/03/12 3pm


Totton came into this game on the back of two superb away wins. Last weekend a 1-0 win at Banbury United put Totton firmly back in the title race after Brackley could only draw 1-1 at Totton's league neighbours Bashley. Then on Tuesday evening a rather under-strength Stags side defied the odds to beat a full-strength Havant & Waterlooville of the Conference South in the Hampshire Senior Cup semi final to set up a final clash with Eastleigh at Southampton FC's St Mary's Stadium. Surely the visit of relegation threatened Redditch United would give Totton the chance to make it 3 wins in a row. As we know though, any team can beat any other team in this league, irrespective of league position.

In the first minute Stefan Brown went down with a worrying looking head injury after a tackle. After a couple of minutes of treatment, thankfully Brown was back on his feet and ready to continue playing.

In the absence of the injured Mike Gosney, left back Charlie Knight was playing on the left wing and Ian Richardson was pushed out to play at left back. His run down the left wing ended with a cross to Ryan Moss who headed straight at the goalkeeper.

Nathaniel Sherborne then drew a good save from the keeper when he nearly converted Moss' low cross.

A good bit of play in the box almost gave Totton the lead when Brown latched onto Moss' knock down and slipped the ball through to Sherborne but his curling shot was just wide of the far post.

Ross Bottomley then sent one unlucky steward on a long trek to retrieve the ball when his massive clearance from a long ball into the box left the ground and probably wasn't far off reaching Testwood Lake!

Jamie Whisken went up for a corner but headed over the bar from Ryan Hill's delivery.

A foul on Hill on the edge of the box gave Totton a free kick. Hill delivered, the ball was headed clear as far as Charlie Knight and he was taken out on the edge of the box. Another free kick, another Hill effort. This time the Redditch wall did it's job as the ball deflected off it for a corner, which came to nothing.

Half time: AFC Totton 0-0 Redditch United

In the second half the defences did all the work as there were hardly any clear chances for either side.

Sherborne cut inside from the right but his cross-shot was gathered by the keeper with Nathan Campbell waiting to pounce.

Redditch substitute Chris Russell was then denied by James Bittner at the other end after running onto a good ball through the Totton defence.

Campbell should have been through on goal soon after, but the linesman flagged for offside despite Campbell coming from behind the defender to get to the ball first.

Stuart Hendrie then worked himself some space in the box but could only shoot wide with just Bittner to beat.

Jon Davies and John McKie soon entered the game in place of Stefan Brown and Charlie Knight as Totton seemed stuck for ideas.

Richardson did well to block a goal-bound shot from Lee Osborne finding the net as Redditch continued to threaten.

The referee then waved away strong penalty appeals from Totton after Davies was felled in the box by Alex Hickman as he ran onto Sherborne's through ball.

Hickman was then lucky to escape with just a yellow card when he wiped out McKie as the young winger tried to race past him on the left wing, going in studs up and sending McKie flying.

From the free kick that followed, Campbell was inches away from getting his head on the ball at the back post.

Bittner then saved a point for Totton when he denied Aaron Forde after he ran into the box, through the defence, and aimed for the bottom corner.

In the dying seconds, both sides had chances to snatch all 3 points. First, Ryan Moss chested down Hill's high cross to the far post but was denied at point black range by Coleman when it seemed certain he would score.

Then, Chris Russell did well to bring down a long punt down-field and get it under control, but Carl Pettefer blocked his effort and the ball rolled safely into Bittner's hands.

Full time: AFC Totton 0-0 Redditch United

After two fantastic results on the road, Totton were stopped in their tracks at the Testwood Stadium by a determined Redditch side. The reverse fixture at Redditch back in November also ended 0-0. With Brackley beating Weymouth 3-1, it opened up a 5 point gap between the league leaders and Totton, but The Stags have a game in hand on The Saints and anything can still happen between now and the end of the season. Next up for Totton is another two home games in a row. Stourbridge visit on Tuesday evening, then next Saturday Leamington are in town.

AFC Totton: Bittner, Hill, Whisken, Bottomley, Richardson, Brown (Davies 60), Campbell, Pettefer, Knight (McKie 69), Sherborne, Moss. Unused subs: Porter, Odam, Osman.

Redditch United: Coleman, Stringfellow, Robinson, Adkins, Hickman, Grimes, Hendrie, Forde, Deabill (Russell 46), Halsall, OsborneUnused Subs : Moses-Garvey, Hull, Knott, Bedford.

Officials: Referee: Mr A Laver. Assistants: Mr D Gillespie & Mr D Howard-Tomes.

Attendance: 460.

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