STAGS FRUSTRATED AT PAULTON BUT KEEP UNBEATEN STREAK GOING
Paulton Rovers 2-2 AFC Totton
Attendance – 61 (approx. 10 Totton)
Stags manager Louis Langdown made just 1 change from the starting XI that beat Bridgwater at the weekend, with debutant Matt Bozier joining on loan from Aldershot Town this week.
The game got underway with Totton shooting from left to right of the main stand at Winterfield Road and they soon took the initiative in the game, when Nathaniel Sherborne was allowed the time to pick a pass to Neil Williams, The Stags combative midfielder dragged his shot wide of George Burton’s goal. As both sides battled for control of the game, the next opportunity also fell Totton’s way as a freekick floated in from the left hand side was nodded down by Dave Allen and into the path of Harry Medway, it seemed as though all The Stags centre-back needed to do was apply the finish, before Burton threw himself on top of the ball before Medway could react.
For all their early dominance, the reward followed 14 minutes in as Charlie Gunson drove a corner towards the near post, Stags captain Dave ALLEN glanced the ball goalwards and into the far corner to put Totton into a fully deserved lead. However, the visitors joy was fairly short lived as Paulton were on level terms 8 minutes later as Elliot GIBBONS was able to stab home after good work on the right by Jordan Ricketts. With the goal seemingly coming against the run of play, Rovers then embedded themselves in the game from that point onwards, frustrating The Stags and breaking up any rhythm they could get going. But there was only one real noteworthy attempt from either side before the break, Matthew Benham shooting wide from the left hand side of the area. HT 1-1
Paulton also had the first real opportunity of the second period, as Ricketts tried to spin and shoot, he could only drag his effort side of Pat O’Flaherty’s goal. But Totton were soon back on the attack and again took the lead, with 62 minutes on the clock Alfy WHITTINGHAM battled his way past a challenge and held off another before finding himself inside the area and in a position to shoot. He did exactly that, driving his left footed shot low and hard across the face of goal and beyond Burton, a great run and finish. But again, as in the first half Paulton hit back in prompt fashion, this time even quicker than before. The Stags second half lead lasted only 3 minutes before Best skipped down the left hand side evading a challenge before squaring to RICKETTS, who had the simplest of tasks to tap home from close range.
The hosts, naturally buoyed by their 2nd equalizer then had a 10 minute spell in The Stags half, which culminated in O’Flaherty making a routine save from Ricketts. But it was Totton who looked the more likely to pinch the game in the last 10 minutes. Sherborne bought himself a half yard after getting away from his man to shoot but his effort was wide when he looked likely to score. As time ebbed away and Totton amped up the pressure sub Callum Hellyar saw his low drive from a cleared corner cleared off the line, as did the rebound – off a Paulton chest. That proved to be the last action in a hotly contested game. FT 2-2
The Stags will be disappointed not to have taken all three points in Somerset this evening, especially after taking the lead twice in the game and having dominated prolonged spells in an attacking sense. The Stags are now unbeaten in their last four games – winning three of those. However, a couple of defensive mistakes cost The Stags this evening, but that’s something Louis, Adam and the lads have an opportunity to smooth out this coming (Saturday 18th March – 3pm) when they take on Mangotsfield United at Testwood Stadium.
Stags Lineup: O’Flaherty, York, Oliver, Williams, Medway, Allen (c), Young, Gunson, Sherborne, Whittingham*, Bozier.
Stags subs: Kimber, Hellyar*, Wilde, Gamble.
Adi Rose at Winterfield Road.