CRAZY GAME ENDS ON A LOW FOR TOTTON
Slimbridge 4 AFC Totton 3
Going into today’s game at Slimbridge Totton were forced to make one change to the starting eleven that lost at home to Cinderford last week. With Robin Nicholls absent due to work commitments, Jason Brooks came in at No 11 and Jack Masterton moved into Nicholls No4 shirt.
You don’t need me to tall you that football is a game that plays havoc with your emotions. Today’s game at Thornhill Park in Gloucestershire against Slimbridge certainly played havoc with the emotions of all those present, they witnessed a crazy, crazy game, or to be honest it was more of a crazy, crazy 2nd half.
The 1st half was OK, but nothing special, there were a few chances in that opening period which was an even half, if truth be told. Craig Feeney shot over from inside the area after 10 minutes for Totton, Slimbridge had a shot off target from Liam Smith on 22 minutes.
Neither keeper had a save to make until the 24th minute when Jamie Martin forced Shane Murphy to push his shot wide, then Martin tried his luck with a chip from the right hand side of the area, but this effort went wide of the far post for the home side.
Totton then upped their game and a nice move involving Alex Haynes and Jason Brooks ended with Brooks pacey cross hitting Feeney and rolling straight to Slimbridge keeper Lewis Adams. This was followed by a controversial moment when Stuart Green played a ball through for Bennett and Bennett headed for goal and as he tried to take the ball past Adams, the Slimbridge stopper lunged in towards Bennett and the Stags striker hit the ground. I have to say from where I was in the main stand it looked a penalty. At half time I spoke to a few of our fans behind that goal and a couple of them said it definitely was and one said he wasn’t 100% sure. Either way referee Jack Shepherd waved away the Totton appeals.
Totton then saw a Brooks chance skewed wide and a Feeney shot drift wide of the left hand post. Then right on half time Shane Murphy was called upon to push wide a Slimbridge effort to send both sides in at the break scoreless.
Half Time: Slimbridge 0 AFC Totton 0
Slimbridge started the 2nd half brightly and Martin dragged a shot wide 60 seconds after the re-start.
On 53 minutes the deadlock was broken when Jason BROOKS speculative shot took a deflection off of somebody and looped up over Keeper Adams and into the top left hand corner of the net.
Slimbridge tried to get level quickly and they forced a free kick outside the box on the right, when the kick came into the box centre half Christian Turner rose the highest to head wide at the back post.
The game was constantly being stopped for fouls and niggles and there had been a couple of bookings with Alex Haynes and Justin Bennett both being shown yellow cards for Totton. Then on 65 minutes came a big moment in the game. Connor York and Danny King had a coming together right in front of me on the Totton right, and what I saw was King with his arms around Yorks neck, as York tried to get up they were grappling with one another and something was said, then York kicked out at King. Bizarrely the linesman who was the nearest the incident did nothing, but the linesman on the far side of the pitch started waving his flag and the referee went over for a chat and he called York over and gave him his marching orders.
With the Stags down to 10 men you felt it was going to be a long 25 minutes or so for Totton to hold on BUT within six minutes of Yorks dismissal they stunned us all by going 2-0 up.
Totton had a corner on the right which was taken by Jack Masterton, this was partially cleared, the ball ended up with Masterton again and Mastertons cross was met by Jack Smith whose header went towards the back post and Eddie PERRETT came in and smashed the ball across goal and into the far side of the net.
We just needed Totton to stay calm, keep their heads and be hard to break down for the last 19 minutes, well they lasted six minutes before they conceded a free kick 25 yards from goal. Liam Smith stepped up and send his kick around the right hand side of the wall and into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Totton seemed to panic and within three minutes Slimbridge equalised when Mark Maghee fired them level. This was really annoying because Tottons two goal advantage had been wiped out within three minutes!
Just five minutes before hand the Stags introduced Ollie Bradley in place of Alex Haynes and it was Bradley who sent the Totton fans into raptures when he picked up the ball on the left by the half way line, BRADLEY started to accelerate, he rode a challenge before he headed towards goal, I was half expecting him to lay the ball off to somebody but he kept going and going until he reached the edge of the area and he sent a low shot fizzing into the bottom right hand corner of the net. Bradley then went on a mazey celebration running all around the pitch chased by jubilant team mates.
Maybe Totton were still celebrating because they were not concentrating on their defending. The Stags had a few chances to clear their lines just prior to Slimbridge’s No 9 Jamie Martin cashing in on the Stags defensive generosity to slam home the equaliser.
Totton looked shell shocked and with 89 minutes on the clock Jason Brooks committed a foul in the box and the referee awarded the home side a penalty. There was lots of anger in the Totton ranks, but once that had all subsided Maghee stepped up to take the kick. Stags keeper Shane Murphy made a brilliant save down to his right, he then denied Slimbridge on the follow up, but on the next occasion Myron Turner smacked the ball home to cause delirium in the home ranks.
Full Time: Slimbridge 4 AFC totton 3
See the Totton goals on the ‘Mally Muppetts’ facebook page. As recorded by Stags fan Ian Willis.