STAGS DISAPPOINT AS FORMER STAG DAVIES BAGS HIMSELF A HAT-TRICK
Frome Town 3 AFC Totton 0
There will be many AFC Totton fans who remember Jonathan Davies. ‘Jono’ spent four and a half seasons with the Stags from early 2009 until the end of the 2012/13 season, when he left to join Poole Town. Davies is still leading Southern League defenders a merry dance with his box of tricks and his eye for goal. Any Totton fan from that era will tell you Davies has the ability to tear sides apart, and today Louis Langdown’s modern day Stags were blown away by the very talented wide man. The tricky No 7 Davies masterminded the Robins 3-0 win over his former club. by bagging himself a hat-trick and if it was not for the keeper Amadeusz Skryniarz (Aman) he may well have scored a few more!
After going right through January without conceding a League goal, the Stags were ‘hampered’ by the absence of BOTH of their regular centre half’s. Jack Smith was serving a one match suspension and Dave Allen was still struggling with an injury. Mitchell Byrne wore Allen’s No 6 shirt and he was alongside Callum Chugg, who wore Smith’s No 5 shirt. Robin Nicholls returned after missing the Hants Senior Cup game v Saints U23’s last Tuesday evening and Ollie Bradley came back into the side to replace James Granger. after Granger suffered an horrific ankle dislocation and double leg fracture in the Saints game. Silvano Obeng also dropped out of the starting eleven, he had to settle for a place on the bench alongside Richard Bakary and Liam Callaghan.
On a heavy, bobbly pitch, the game struggled to get going. The 1st ten minutes were very scrappy indeed, then ‘all of a sudden’ came a chance at each end to liven up proceedings. The 1st chance fell to Frome Town’s Dan Cottle, who beat the offside trap to stroll clear of the Totton defenders, Cottle then rounded Totton keeper ‘Aman’ and attempted to roll the ball into the far side of the net, the heavy pitch slowed the run of the ball for sure, and the ball trickled across goal and hit the far post where it was belted away.
Within a minute Totton had a golden opportunity to take the lead themselves, when a slip by Robins centre half Marcus Mapstone allowed Craig Feeney to get in one on one with keeper Kyle Phillips, but Feeney uncharacteristically blazed the ball over the bar.
In truth from that point on the home side dominated the 1st period, creating numerous opportunities. There was a header over the bar from Sam Teale following a free kick out on the right, then on 20 minutes the home side took the lead through the afore mention Jonathon Davies. The Robins were awarded a free kick around 30-35 yards from goal, everybody seemed to be expecting Davies to float the ball to the right hand side of the box, which is where all the players were bunched, but Davies very Cleverley hit the ball to the left of goal and this caught the Stags keeper out. Aman attempted to change the direction of his dive in mid-flight, and that is almost impossible to do, and the ball went under the Totton keeper and into the net.
Chances followed for the Robins when Davies put over close in, and Warren Maidments cross, come shot went wide. Cottle rattled the crossbar for the Robins just after the half hour mark, then on 34 minutes the brilliance of Davies, saw him evade two challenges, before rifling the ball into the far corner of the net from the right side of the box. There were some claims that the ball may have hit Davies hand as he weaved his way through, but referee Richard Lawrence was having none of it, so the goal stood.
Davies was creating chances for his team mates too, and he set up Jo O’Loughlin with a superb pass and O’Loughlin pulled a fine save out of Aman in the 41st minute. Then in the final minute of the half a slip by Connor York let in Matt Smith, but he was denied by Aman. Then in added time at the end of the half Davies was denied again by the Totton keeper.
Half-time: Frome Town 2 AFC Totton 0
The Stags had to improve in the 2nd half after a limp 1st half performance. There is no doubt that Totton were ‘fortunate’ to come in just 2-0 down, they had offered little going forward.
In an attempt to improve things Langdown took Alex Haynes off and replaced him with Silvono Obeng.
Davies was once again causing problems for the Stags when he pulled another save out of Aman and he ‘almost’ got in once more after Aman was caught outside of his box. Davies then had another shot deflected wide on the hour mark.
Totton then put together their ‘only’ decent move of the game when a five pass attack ended up with Feeney nodding the ball down to Obeng, who fired over the bar, it was a half decent chance and Obeng should have done better with his finish.
There was another chance for the home side Martin Lenihan’s low ball across the box was close to connecting with Davies. Then a tackle by Cottle left Mitchell Byrne down needing treatment, and there were calls for referee Lawrence to show the Robins No18 a 2nd yellow card, Cottle had earlier been booked following a clash with Ollie Bradley, an incident in which Bradley was also booked. Lawrence showed no card to Cottle, who was immediately substituted by Frome manager Danny Greaves.
That man Davies was still at it, as he pulled yet another save out of Aman. There was then the briefest of flurries from Totton, when York attempted to play in Callaghan and this was followed by Obeng sending a wayward shot well wide.
It simply had to be Davies who had the final say on proceedings. The ‘MOTM’ was played in one on one with Aman with two minutes remaining, and Davies nonchalantly lifted the ball over Aman and into the net.
Full time: Frome Town 3 AFC Totton 0
As I mentioned at the Start of this report Jonathon Davies was outstanding for the Robin’s, he was head and shoulders the best player on the park today. However, Totton’s performance at the ‘Badgers Hill Stadium’ would be best described as ‘limp’. The Stags never really got going in truth. Frustratingly, they seemed to lack the same level of desire as Frome showed throughout the afternoon. The home side seemed to be ‘Hungrier’ on the day and that is very disappointing. The home side were chasing and pressing even when 3-0 up in added time. The pitch may not have suited Langdown’s side, but it was the same for both sides and Frome adapted well to the conditions and deservedly ran out ‘comfortable’ winners. I can’t be too critical of the Stags though, as they have done brilliantly over the last month to put together a five-match unbeaten run in the league without conceding a goal. Quite simply we need to ‘bounce back’ with a much better performance at home to Paulton Rovers this coming Tuesday evening (7.45pm).