FEENEY ON FIRE FOR STAGS IN CONVINCING WIN
AFC Totton 4 Bideford 0
With the play offs out of reach for both Bideford and the Stags, there was little at stake in yesterdays game, but Louis Langdowns side showed an excellent attitude as they netted themselves a handsome win over the North Devon side.
Langdown was missing two key midfielders for yesterdays game with Robin Nicholls away due to work commitments and Captain Jack Masterton was injured. The Stags boss brought in Connor York for Masterton and Ollie Bradley came in for Nicholls. The bench saw the return of promising youngsters James Matthews and Matt Wotton alongside Jason Brookes and Adam Wilde.
The game started very brightly with Bideford looking very dangerous early on. Billy Tucker shot wide in the opening minutes and Jordan Rickets hit the post with Ryan Turner being denied by the legs of Shane Murphy from the rebound.
Totton’s first real effort came on 9 minutes when a cross from Connor York was met by the head of Craig Feeney, who glanced his header wide.
The game in reality had little riding on it, but you wouldn’t have thought this, as It had a good pace and energy about it.
Bideford were still carrying the greater threat when a right wing cross was headed wide by their captain Ben Carter after 12 minutes.
Totton retaliated with a chance of their own, after Feeney chased a ball over the top, the Stags striker got to it, and he could see that Bideford keeper Joe Moore had come quite a way from his goal line, but the angle was too tight for Feeney to shoot, so with Moore back peddling Feeney crossed in an attempt to meet the in-rushing Stuart Green, but the cross was just too high for him at the back post.
On 18 minutes Bideford came at Totton again when a superb through ball released Ryan Turner, but before Turner could get a shot away a superb block came in from Jack Smith to deny him.
At the half way point of the half Totton surged forward and Ollie Bradley picked up a ball on the left and his cross into the box was cut out by Toby Down and the ball went out for a corner, the resulting corner from Green was met by the head of Jack Smith, but his header was cleared off the line by Ben Carter.
Then on 28 minutes the Stags took the lead when Bradley’s cross was diverted into the path of Stuart Green, who cut a ball back into the path of Justin BENNETT and Bennett fired superbly past Moore. It really was a quality finish from the Stags No 10.
Totton then had another good chance when Callum Chugg played a ball across to York on the right and York delivered another quality cross that was met by Green, whose effort drifted wide.
Then on 32 minutes Totton doubled their lead when Feeney once again played off the shoulder of Toby Down to pick up a ball on the edge of the box, again Moore in the Bideford goal was way off his line, FEENEY stopped for a second, and Keeper Moore was left stranded as the Stags striker shot around him and the ball nestled beautifully in the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Totton then saw a shot by Dave Allen go over the bar, then great work by Alex Haynes set up Allen to nod the ball back across to Bennett, whose header was just millimeters over the bar.
Then with two minutes left of the first half that man FEENEY made it 3-0 with yet another fantastic finish following yet another ball over the top that fell nicely to him, the Stags hit man just lifted the ball over Moore and into the roof of the net.
Half Time: AFC Totton 3 Bideford 0
Bideford showed that despite the three-goal deficit they were not throwing in the towel, and to prove the point Joel Randall’s cross come shot from the left of the Totton area hit the far post.
However, On 57 minutes it was game set and match when that man FEENEY completed his hat-trick, and in doing so he notched his 23rd goal of the campaign. There was an awkward bouncing ball on the edge of the Bideford area that saw Feeney get in between two Bideford defenders, one of those defenders Toby Down tried to head the ball back to keeper Moore, who had come off his line once more, but Down’s header lacked distance and Feeney nipped in to lift the ball over the Bideford keeper and it dropped nicely into the net.
Feeney was not content with just the three goals and he had a chance to add his 4th and Totton’s 5th on 59 minutes but his shot went over the bar.
Bideford still kept plugging away and Tucker saw a shot drift wide and Tucker then set up team mate and Substitute Kevin Squire, but Squire headed wide when really, he should have done better with the opportunity.
Both sides kept going, but chances become fewer with the Stags making all three substitutions to give youngsters James Matthews ( on for Haynes) and Matt Wotton ( on for Feeney) a further taste of 1st team football, Jason Brookes ( on for Green ) also came on and looked very lively in the later stages of the game.
There were a number of good performances from the Stags with Jack Smith playing very well. Jack is a bit of an unsung hero for the Stags, he is a steady performer most weeks and maybe what he does goes a bit unnoticed at times. I lost count of how many blocks and timely interceptions Jack made yesterday. This was Jack’s final game of the season due to his very harsh sending off at Winchester City in midweek, his three-match ban sees him miss the final three fixtures.
It also cannot be underestimated how well Dave Allen has done again this term. He was excellent once more against Bideford. Dave has a fantastic attitude and younger players in the club could learn a lot from him.
Callum Chugg has been moved about a bit this season, but he gives 100% most weeks and plays with an enthusiasm and desire, no matter what position he plays, and he did well again yesterday.
It was one of those days when nobody in the team played badly and that would have pleased Louis Langdown and Adam Wilde, especially when they were missing Jack Masterton and Robin Nicholls. The lads that stepped into their places all did very well.
Full Time: AFC Totton 4 Bideford 0