STAGS ADAPT WELL TO INJURIES TO NET A COMPREHENSIVE WIN
AFC Totton 5 Barnstaple Town 0
AFC Totton bagged themselves a comprehensive win over struggling Barnstaple Town at The Testwood Community Stadium this afternoon, building on their 2-1 success at Bristol Manor Farm last week.
There was some disappointing team news for Louis Langdown with captain Jack Masterton unable to play as he was feeling unwell and defender Callum Chugg was unavailable after sustaining a foot injury at Bristol Manor Farm last week. Connor York was also missing as he was serving the 2nd game of his three-game suspension, after his sending off at Slimbridge recently. Alex Haynes came in for Chugg and had to start at right back, whilst Ollie Bradley came in n place of Masterton. The bench saw Jason Brookes alongside Papa, James Matthews and Adam Wilde, with Josh Cotton as the sub keeper.
The Stags started the game superbly well with Stuart GREEN opening the scoring after just three minutes, the Stags No 7 shot home from around eight yards out, following a ball from the left from Ollie Bradley.
Green could have bagged himself a 2nd on seven minutes when he was in on goal in a one on one situation. However, Green unselfishly decided to square the ball to Bradley, but his pass was cut out by a Barnstaple defender.
Just a minute later Adam Mcwilliams took a corner on the right and it was put into the net by centre half Jack Smith, unfortunately for Smith referee Robert Ablitt thought he spotted a foul on Barum keeper Steve Oliver.
The first sight Barnstaple had of the Totton goal was in the 13th minute when Jack Rice-Lathaby tried his luck with a long-range effort that went so far over if it had not been for the netting behind the goal, the ball would have been halfway down the Salisbury Road!
A couple of moments later Barnstaple came a little closer to troubling the Totton goal when Harry Stevens was put through, Stevens managed to get a shot on target, but Shane Murphy was well placed and got behind the shot and he held it well.
On 18 minutes McWilliam got in a shot for Totton that beat keeper Oliver, but George Nancekivell rescued the situation for the visitors by clearing the Scotsmans shot off the line.
Barnstaple managed to string a move together on 20 minutes that ended with captain Jack Jenkins shooting wide from 20 yards
There was another injury headache for Stags boss Louis Langdown when new signing McWilliam went down holding his ankle, the former Montrose midfielder was unable to continue, and he had to be replaced by Jason Brooks on the half hour mark. The visitors were now starting to cause a few problems for the Stags who were having to re-adjust after the loss of McWilliam, Alex Haynes had to come into midfield and sub Brooks went straight to right back.
Barum had another shot at goal and this time it was from fully 35 yards from Jed Harper-Penman, it was not a bad effort at all from the Barnstaple No 7, with his shot only going a foot or two over the bar.
Totton should have doubled their lead on 35 minutes after Bradley played a ball into the box from the left towards Green, Green looked certain to score until he was upended by Brodie Montague. This resulted in a penalty being awarded to the Stags. After a delay of around two to three minutes Justin Bennett stepped up and put the ball to the left-hand side of goal and Barum keeper Oliver got across to push the ball away.
To rub salt in the Totton wounds Green was struggling after the Montague’s tackle and he had to be replaced by Papa. After losing two key players the Stags were really looking jittery up until the break. Fortunately, they kept the visitors at bay until they could rejig things during the interval.
Half Time: AFC Totton 1 Barnstaple Town 0
The Stags came out after the break with renewed vigour and within 45 seconds of the re-start Craig FEENEY latched onto a Bennett through-ball, he took a touch before he coolly stroked the ball past the advancing Oliver to make it 2-0.
This was the perfect start to the half for Totton, who suddenly looked re-energised and four minutes later the Stags made it 3-0 when BRADLEY wrong footed keeper Oliver by shooting to his right from the edge of the box when it looked as if he was shaping up to shoot to the keepers left.
The visitors had a few half chances when Saddam Bello headed over from a corner, Mike Humphreys shot across the face of goal and substitute Steven Holland tried to chip home from a tight angle, but Hollands effort went wide.
For the vast majority of the 2nd half though, it was Totton controlling the play and they added a 4th goal on 77 minutes when Eddie Perretts ball down the left was chased by Bennett, who nodded the ball down and took it past keeper Oliver, BENNETT then spotted an opportunity to net his 13th goal of the season when he superbly slid the ball home from a tight angle.
The Stags then added a 5th on 84 minutes. Shane Murphy took a Totton free kick around 25 yards from his own goal, he floated it towards Bennett, who went up with Nancekivell around 25 yards from the Barum goal. The referee saw a foul and the Stags were awarded a free kick. Bennett and Robin Nicholls stood over the ball, Nicholls touched the ball to BENNETT who curled the ball around the wall and into the right-hand corner of the net.
There was time for an effort from each side in the dying moments, firstly Jack Smith made an excellent goal-line clearance from Barnstaple’s Holland and Papa tried an audacious shot from distance that was not far away at all.
Full time: AFC Totton 5 Barnstaple Town 0