GREEN HAT-TRICK HELPS THE STAGS WIN AN EIGHT GOAL THRILLER
AFC Totton 5 Fleet Town 3
The 333 spectators who attended this afternoon’s game were probably wondering why they bothered when the heavens opened just prior to kick off. However, the incredible entertainment served up over the next couple of hours made the decision to attend well worthwhile.
The Stags made one change to the starting line up that earned them a terrific 1-0 win at Cinderford Town on Tuesday evening. Stuart Green returned in place of Ollie Bradley. Bradley dropped to the bench alongside Papa, Dave Allen and the returning Flavio Tavares. Adam Wilde was the 5th substitute.
The Stags started the game like a whirlwind, racing into a two-goal lead within the first 10 minutes. It was captain Jack MASTERTON who opened the scoring when he curled in a shot into the roof of the net from the edge of the box in the 7th minute. Stuart GREEN added the 2nd goal when he peeled off of his markers and volleyed home from 8-yards following Jason Brooks cross to the back post.
In between those two Stags goals Justin Bennett had an attempt blocked close in following a spot of ping pong in the Fleet box. Then on 15 minutes the Stags were awarded a free kick inside the ‘D’, which was taken by Masterton, but the Totton captain’s effort caught a slight deflection and went narrowly wide.
Totton thought they had a 3rd goal when Bennett rose to head home at the back post following a ball over from the right. The referee disallowed his effort for pushing, let’s just say that it was very harsh on Benno.
Fleet reminded us that they were still at the party when Bradley Wilson had a shot deflected over and from the resulting corner Billy Oram sent a 20-yard effort wide which deflected off of his team-mate Mesach Williams. This was followed by another chance for the visitors when centre half Edwin Plackett saw a header go just wide.
Fleet then hauled themselves back into the game when Bradley Wilson fired past Max Harris on 32 minutes, following some generous Totton defending. Suddenly the game was looking as if it was going to be a real contest when Totton could have already had the game in the bag.
Within a minute though Totton had restored their two-goal advantage when Stuart GREEN added his 2nd of the afternoon. Green was played through by Jason Brookes and as he entered the area he stumbled but Green did his best to stay on his feet and he just managed to get a toe to the ball to poke it past the advancing White.
With half time approaching Totton were rocked when they had Craig Feeney sent off for a stamp on Fleets No 8 Ronan Silva. Silva remained on the ground for a couple of moments whilst he received treatment from the Fleet Town physio.
Half Time AFC Totton 3 Fleet Town 1
With a two-goal advantage and being a man down, the Stags needed to keep things tight, but they were unable to manage it, because within 5 minutes of the restart they allowed Fleet back into the game when Mesach Williams capitalised on some generous Totton defending to sweep home.
The Stags were understandably shaken by conceding so early into the half, but they managed to steady themselves and restore their two-goal advantage on 62 minutes when substitute Ollie BRADLEY got on the end of Greens cut-back to score his first goal for the club.
You could visibly see that Fleet were knocked back by conceding that goal as the Stags set about the visitors with renewed vigour, despite being a man down.
A couple of chances came for Bennett who was denied by White, after he was set up by Bradley and Alex Haynes set him up for another chance, but on this occasion his shot was deflected wide for a corner.
The Stags then added a 5th goal when Jack Masterton sent over a cross to the back post that Callum Chugg headed back towards the centre of the goal and GREEN flung himself at the ball and headed home from 6-yards to complete his hat-trick. It was a just reward for the Stags No 7 who ‘as always’ had worked his socks off all afternoon.
The game was delayed for 10 minutes after the visitor’s captain Billy Oram was knocked out after suffering the full effects of a volleyed clearance that hit him square in the face from point blank range. Oram was eventually stretchered off and was taken to hospital in an ambulance.
In the 3rd minute of added time the visitors managed to pull it back to 5-3 when Wilson managed to get free on the left of the Totton box, and he placed a shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net. It wasn’t a great goal from a defensive point of view, but credit to Fleet who kept plugging away.
The Stags were still looking for a 6th goal and they were not far away from getting it when Papa sent a free kick from the right into the area and it was met by Chugg, whose header went wide.
Full Time: AFC Totton 5 Fleet Town 3
It was a crazy game of football there is no doubt about that. The entertainment was superb in a game that was laden with goalmouth action. Both managers will have concerns about their sides defending, but that all added to a fabulous afternoon’s entertainment.
Stags boss Louis Langdown was delighted by his team’s character, especially as they played over half the game with 10 men. Feeney’s sending off was doubly frustrating for Langdown because prior to the red card Feeney was having another really good game.
Everybody at AFC Totton would like to wish Fleet Town captain Billy Oram a speedy recovery after he was on the receiving end of volleyed clearance, which hit him in the face from only a foot or two away. Oram left the field on a stretcher and was taken to hosdpital. The good news is that he was able to talk when the ambulance came to the ground for him.
Next up for the Stags is Paulton Rovers at home on Saturday 2nd February (3pm).