LAST GASP STAGS TAKE A POINT
Mangotsfield United 3 AFC Totton 3
After four unbeaten games manager Louis Langdown had to make a couple of enforced changes to his side with Alex Cull injured, another Southampton Loanee keeper in the shape of Matt Hall came in to replace him, and midfielder Alex Haynes returned to the side after missing Tuesdays win over Alresford Town in the Southampton senior Cup. This meant that Ollie Bradley had to settle for a place on the bench. Also, on the bench was Liam Callaghan, Liam Farrugia, Jack Masterton and Matt Simm.
As many of you know, Supporting AFC Totton can sometimes leave you pulling your hair out, but every so often you get a beautiful moment when it can feel fantastic. In fact, this afternoon those loyal Totton fans at Cossham street felt many of those emotions in the space of the 90+3 minutes.
The afternoon started well with Adam McWilliam giving the Stags a 5th minute lead with a 25-yard free kick that he sent into the top corner. The free kick had been awarded for a hand ball by a Mangotsfield defender as Feeney tried to take the ball past him. From that moment on the 1st half went downhill and to be quite blunt the Stags were very poor for the remaining 40 minutes of the half.
The home side had a half chance on 11 minutes when Ben Brooks shot straight at Matt Hall and a couple of minutes later James Ollis attempted a shot across Hall, but it was shot blocked.
The pitch was not the best to try and play football on, and this probably contributed in part in how the 1st half panned out. The Stags simply kept giving the ball away, they were getting beaten to many 50/50 balls and defensively we were hesitant and sloppy, and we paid the price for that.
The home side were level on 16 minutes when the pacey and lively Daniel Demkiv got onto a simple ball over the top and he stayed ahead of Totton’s defenders and he simply lifted the bouncing ball over Matt Hall, who came out to try and narrow the angles, but it was all to no avail for the Totton keeper, as the ball dropped into the net.
The Stags were not creating anything from open play, but they did force another free kick after a foul on Feeney. The kick was within McWilliams range. When the Scottish midfielder took it his 1st shot was blocked, the ball came back to him and his 2nd shot went over the crossbar.
Totton were almost gifted a 2nd goal when keeper Marko Radovanovic.s kick out when straight to Feeney out on the Stags right, the Totton striker knew the keeper was off his line, so he attempted a 1st time lob back over him, but the ball went agonisingly into the side netting.
Totton were then thankful to Matt Hall for keeping the scores level when he had to make a save from Ollis. The Stags then fell 2-1 behind after 36 minutes when they failed to defend a corner. When the ball arrived in the box it was bobbling around and Silvano Obeng looked as if he was going to clear, but he fatally hesitated and before he could clear the ball it ended up at the feet of Demkiv at the back post and he slashed the ball home from a couple of yards out. It was a horrible goal to concede.
Totton were then awarded another free kick, this time it was indirect. and when it was taken McWilliam touched it to Feeney and he shot over.
Then Totton had yet another free kick awarded when Feeney tried to lift the ball over a defender who decided to handle the ball just outside the area. This time it was a direct free kick and McWilliam fired wide.
The score-line got even worse for the Stags on 43 minutes when another ball over the Totton defence allowed Demkiv to stride clear of the chasing defenders and slide the ball past Hall to complete his 1st half hat-trick.
The Stags would’ve been glad to see the end of the 1st period, which saw them create nothing from open play, their passing was poor, and their defending for the goals was dreadful. They had clearly been 2nd best, all the more frustrating when you consider that they took an early lead.
Half time: Mangotsfield United 3 AFC Totton 1
Totton simply had to improve for the 2nd half and improve they did. They were not as fluent as you would like, but they were now starting to win some battles and they had a much more determined look about them. It took a while for the 2nd half to see any worthwhile goalmouth action. In fact, it wasn’t until the 53rd minute when the 1st chance of the half arrived. When that chance came it was for Feeney, who got clear of the Mangotsfield defence before he pulled the trigger, but Mangotsfield keeper Marko Radovanovic made the save to deny the Stags top scorer.
On 55 minutes it was very nearly game set and match to the home side when Demkiv looked as if he was going to net his and Mangotsfields 4th goal of the afternoon, but a brilliant goal-line clearance from Matt Bozier denied him.
Then on 58 minutes Totton went on the attack and McWilliam received the ball with his back to goal on the left hand angle of the 18 yard box he chested the ball down and turned and laid the ball across to Pip Nolan, who drove it low past Radovanovic from just outside the ‘D’.
The chances were still in limited supply, but the next two worthwhile shots at goal were both from the home side, firstly Ollis screwed a shot wide after a nice move from the hosts, then Thomas Llewellyn sent a free kick wide.
Totton had a free kick awarded to them with 5 minutes of normal time remaining. It was taken by McWilliam, who drove low at goal and Feeney got a touch and put it over the bar.
With three additional minutes being shown on the board the Stags were desperate to try and force one final chance and hope they could take it. They had a chance hallway through added time when Matt Hall took a free kick from inside the Totton half, the ball ended up at the feet of sub Liam Farrugia and all he could do was shoot straight at the keeper.
It looked as if all was lost for the Stags. Then they got another free kick deep in the Totton half and again Matt Hall sent it into the Mangotsfield half. Mangotsfield’s Llewellyn went up in an attempt to head it away. However, all Llewellyn could do was get under it and the ball went off the back of his head and it was picked up by Feeney on the edge of the box. Feeney then turned and looked as if he was tripped, and it really did look like a good shout for a penalty, but the ball bounced a couple of yards along the edge of the box and it came to the feet of Ollie Bradley, who turned and fired low into the bottom left corner of the net from 18 yards. The Stags players understandably went berserk and chased Bradley over to Louis Langdown’s dugout. It was a great moment for the Totton fans and players.
Full time: Mangotsfield Unied 3 AFC Totton 3
Next up for the Stags in Bet-Victor Division One South is a trip to Cirencester on Tuesday evening (7.45pm).