WASTED CHANCES PROVE COSTLY
Barnstaple Town 1 AFC Totton 0
Louis Langdown was left pulling his hair out following the Stags 1-0 defeat at Barnstaple Town this afternoon, the Totton boss watched his side camp in the hosts half for almost the entire 2nd half, despite this his side left Mill Road pointless due to a string of wasted chances.
The team news saw Robin Nicholls make a welcome return to midfield after injury, coming in for Liam Farrugia and Matt Hartmann came in for Mitchell Byrne at left back. Both Farrugia and Byrne had a place on the bench and they were joined by recent signing from Wimborne Robert Bradley Rob was joined by his name sake Ollie Bradley and the final place on the bench went to Gowan Stares.
Totton started OK forcing a couple of early corners, the 2nd of which was headed over by Jack Smith.
The 1st half was not the greatest spectacle with clear cut chances at a premium. In fact the next action resembling a chance saw Barum’s Jack Jenkins chase a long ball that Totton keeper Alex Cull had to react quickly to deal with.
There was lots of huff and puff on show but little to really excite the crowd,
Totton had a half chance on 26 minutes when Lewis Beale met a cross with a header that went straight into the grateful arms of Barnstaple keeper Steve Oliver.
Barnstaple forced a corner on their left on 28 minutes and when it was floated into the Totton box it found the unmarked Jack Langford at the back post and his looping header went across the box and into the far side of the net. It was a disappointing goal from a defensive point view. So once again the Stags found themselves behind and chasing a game.
Totton forced a free kick on the right hand side of the box after 33 minutes and it was taken by Liam Callaghan who sent it right across the face of goal.
Barnstaple’s Brian Levien then hooked an effort over for the home side from the left hand side of the box.
Then just before the break Liam Callaghan showed good skill before lifting a ball in towards the near post where Alex Haynes and Lewis Beale came steaming in, but Barum cleared the ball away just in the nick of time from their point of view.
Half time: Barnstaple Town 1 AFC Totton 0
Louis Langdown was forced to make a change at the break with Alex Haynes suffering a hip injury during the opening 45 minute’s. He was replaced by Robert Bradley, a recent signing from Wimborne Town.
Bradley seemed to add something different for Totton, almost immediately he made a run from deep, evading three Barnstaple players, before he was finally halted close to the edge of the Barum box.
Totton definitely had a bit of zip about them this half and they were looking threatening.
Lewis Beale dragged a shot wide on 49 minutes then a little while later he headed over from a Callaghan cross.
Totton’s injury list grew a little longer after the hour mark when Jack Masterton limped off and he had to be replaced by Ollie Bradley.
The Totton players were fuming when on 62 minutes Liam Callaghan seemed to be hauled down in the box but referee Devon Campbell was having none of it. The locals around me looked relieved at the decision.
As the half wore on Totton continued to press and Callaghan sent an angled shot wide after 65 minutes. Two minutes later Craig Feeney had a fierce shot pushed away by Barum keeper Steve Oliver.
A rare home attack saw Saddam Bello pull a save out of Cull on 68 minutes before Totton went back on the attack and Feeney dragged a shot wide.
On 74 minutes Barnstaple were awarded a free kick just outside the box, when it was taken it hit Dave Allen and referee Campbell pointed to the spot. Totton were not happy. Totton boss Louis Langdown later told me Dave had a red mark on his chest where the ball hit him. (Listen to Langdown’s interview on the website home page). The resulting penalty was taken by Jack Jenkins, who put his kick to the left of Totton keeper Cull but Cull got down well to save.
Totton then laid siege to the Barnstaple goal again and both Feeney and Callaghan had decent shots saved by Barum keeper Oliver.
Totton were peppering the visitors goal and they were awarded a free kick around 25 yards out. Totton number Seven Callaghan stepped up to take it he put the kick over the bar.
With the 90 minutes up the Barnstaple fans were desperate for the final whistle, but there was no relenting from Totton who were going all out looking for that late late equaliser, and in added time Ollie Bradley glanced a header wide from a Callaghan cross.
The home fans were looking nervous to say the least as Totton came again and Beale made a determined run into the box from the right and he put in a low shot from a tight angle that keeper ‘man of the match’ Oliver did really well to stop down low at the near post. Finally the whistle went to the huge relief of the Barum fans But for Totton this latest defeat means that the wait goes on for the 1st points of the season.
Full time: Barnstaple Town 1 AFC Totton 0