SUPER STAGS DOWN TOWN
AFC Totton 5 Melksham Town 0
AFC Totton went into last nights game knowing that this was one of their two games in hand on the teams around them. Melksham have had a really decent first season in the Southern League where they are sat comfortably in the top half of the table. In their ranks they have former Stags wide-man Jonathon Davies who joined Totton when they were at Testwood Park during the Stuart Ritchie era. Davies left the Stags in 2013 when Steve Riley was in charge.
There was no changes to the eleven who started Saturdays game with Mangogtsfield, the only change came on the subs bench where Eddie Perrett returned.
The Stags started the game well and they got the perfect start when a Robin Nicholls throw out on the left-hand side bounced up in the area, Craig Feeney went up for the ball with Melksham defender Nuno Felix. The ball flicked off Feeney’s head and it was bundled home by Stuart GREEN close to the goal line.
Totton then had a great chance to add to Greens goal when Callum Chugg played Green in once again and whilst Melksham were looking for the offside flag Green lifted the ball over Kent Kauppinen, but he also lifted it over the bar. Melksham got off lightly because defender George Morris -Edwards was the culprit who played Green onside.
The Stags did double their lead after just 12 minutes when the scorer of the opening goal Green, played a ball through to Justin BENNETT who side-stepped a defender, before shooting low past keeper Kauppinen. This was just rewards for an excellent start from the Stags, who had now set the tone for the remainder of the evening.
Totton had another chance to add to the score-line when Craig Feeney flicked a ball on for Green who took the ball around Kauppinen before shooting into the side netting. Then before the break Feeney was played in with a ball over the top of the Melksham defence and Feeney’s attempted lob over Kauppinen lacked height and the keeper safely caught Feeney’s effort. Then a minute or two later Feeney got in down the right before he played the ball across the face of goal with no Totton player able to connect.
Half Time: AFC Totton 2 Melksham Town 0
Totton were quick out of the blocks again when play resumed after the break and they earned themselves a free kick that was taken by Jack Masterton, Masterton played a delightful ball across the area and Callum Chugg rose to meet it with a terrific header that come thundering back off of the woodwork. Two minutes later Totton had a corner that was taken by Masterton and when it came into the box Bennett flicked it on towards the back post where Feeney headed over from close range.
In the 59th minute Totton added a 3rd goal and it was no more than they deserved. Robin Nicholls regained possession for the Stags in midfield and the ball ended up at the feet of Bennett who played a ball between two defenders to Alex HAYNES who was just outside the ‘D’ and Haynes showed great maturity to draw the keeper out before coolly slipping the ball past him and into the net. Haynes was having another superb game in midfield and this goal will further enhance the belief that the former England school’s midfielder is going to develop into a really good player.
The Stags were relentless in their pursuit of further goals and they duly added a 4th after 67 minutes and it was BENNETT who scored it, Bennett owes recent dual signing from Fawley Ollie Bradley some gratitude for setting him up. Bradley had just come on as a substitute for Robin Nicholls when he picked up the ball deep inside the Totton half, Bradley played a one two with Green before he embarked on a run into the Melksham half, Bradley then played a ball across field to the veteran striker who again side stepped a defender before sending a superb strike into the top left hand corner from around 14 yards, It was a tremendous finish.
Despite working his socks off, Craig Feeney was having no luck in front of goal and he was thwarted once again when a ball forward was flicked on by Bennett, this released Feeney who only had Kauppinen to beat inside the area, but Feeney’s fierce drive was parried away by the Melksham stopper.
The Stags then put the icing on the cake by adding a 5th goal. A long ball down the left hand touch line by Jack Masterton was picked up by Stuart Green, who headed towards the left hand side of the box, Green then played the ball across the area for Craig FEENEY who finally got his deserved goal as he slid the ball was Kauppinen and into the bottom corner.
Full Time: AFC Totton 5 Melksham Town 0
I had a number of conversations with supporters after the game and a vast majority thought that this was an excellent performance, probably the best of the season so far. A couple of fans did say that they thought Melksham were not great BUT I genuinely believe that we did not allow them to play, such was the determination from every Totton player. Max Harris never had one save to make thanks to the players in front of him throwing their bodies in front of any Melksham attempt. The Stags were superb right through the team, and on the night looked a very good side indeed.
We now go again for the tough looking trip to Moneyfields on Saturday, the Stags will go into that game buoyed by last nights result, but also mindful of the fact that Moneys put five past Paulton Rovers last night too.