SUPERSUB MCWILLIAM POPS UP WITH THE WINNER
Slimbridge 0 AFC Totton 1
AFC Totton pulled off a tremendous result in their FA Trophy Preliminary round tie at Thornhill Park against a bang in form Slimbridge. A goal from 2nd half substitute Adam McWilliam earned the Stags a place in the 1st qualifying round draw, which will be made on Monday at 1pm.
Louis Langdown was still without Goalkeeper Alex Cull, top scorer Craig Feeney, influential midfielder Pip Nolan as well as Jack Masterton with a longer-term knee injury. Eastleigh did not want Lewis Beale and Ben Scorey cup tied so the Stags manager had to re-jig his side for today’s game. In came young keeper Matt Hall on loan from Southampton. Hall was one of three changes to the side who played in the Southampton Senior Cup last Tuesday evening.
The opening five minutes or so saw both sides trying to get an early foothold in the game, but as the 1st half progressed the Stags were getting on top.
The Stags were looking good in possession and comfortable without the ball. What became a feature of the afternoon was the terrific work rate all over the park epitomised by Robin Nicholls and Alex Haynes in midfield.
The pick of the chances in the 1st half saw Liam Callaghan get on the end of Silvano Obeng’s flick on before he pulled a save from Slimbridge keeper Lewis Adams after 18 minutes, then Callaghan pulled another save from Adams on 25 minutes when his deflected shot from a tight angle forced the keeper to get down smartly at the near post, whilst Obeng’s low shot saw the Slimbridge keeper get down with an outstretched arm to prevent Totton from going ahead on 43 minutes.
Totton limited Slimbridge to bits ‘n’ pieces in the opening period with their best efforts coming from Rhys Sarson, who got clear following a loose pass from the otherwise impeccable Haynes on 33 minutes, whilst Leighton Tuodolo fired over at the back post from a low cross on their right.
Half time: Slimbridge 0 AFC Totton 0
Totton carried on from where they left off, by having the better of things at the start of the 2nd half. On 48 minutes Obeng showed good feet before playing a ball out to Richard Bakary and Bakary crossed low into the box where the late arriving Ollie Bradley put the ball over the bar.
Totton then had another shot over the bar from Bradley, who collected a long ball from Dave Allen before cutting in towards the left-hand angle of the penalty area and firing over.
Slimbridge made two quick substitutions in a bid to change things with Danny King replacing Lewis Spurrier and Ryan Beckinsdale replacing Jack Horrell.
Slimbridge did improve, but they never caused Totton too many problems with the closest thing to danger coming on 63 minutes when Beckinsdale almost got a shot on goal inside the box, but the superb Haynes blocked his shot after a bit of pinball in the Totton area. There were a couple more half chances for the Swans when Sarson’s shot was comfortably saved by Hall and when Tuodolas downward header went wide from Danny King’s free kick out on the left.
The Totton back line was standing firm and Matt Simm at right back was immense, all that was missing from the Stags performance was a cutting edge.
On 68 minutes Louis Langdown made a substitution by bringing on Adam McWilliam in place of Richard Bakary.
Slimbridge then made their 3rd and final change by bringing on Dion Chambers for Myron Turner.
There were a couple of half chances for the Swans with a free kick out on the right evading everybody in the box, then Tuodolo’s deep cross was glanced well wide by Beckinsdale.
Then on 79 minutes came the breakthrough for the Stags when Dave Allen’s ball forward went over Obeng and suddenly Adam MCWILLIAM was clear through central left and as he headed into the area, he fired past Adams and Totton were a goal to the good.
From then on Totton’s game management was excellent, they got on the ball and played sensibly, ensuring that they gave nothing away. In fact, the home side never had a sniff in the closing period, whilst Totton had an Obeng shot over the bar in the 90th minute. Totton made two more substitutions in the dying minutes by bringing on Rob Bradley for the excellent Haynes, and in added time Gowan Stares came on for Obeng.
Full time: Slimbridge 0 AFC Totton 1
Just to sum up this is one of the most professional performances that I have seen from Totton in months. When you are missing so many good players, it put’s added pressure on the rest of the side, but they did not let that bother them. They went about their jobs superbly well and against a side who have been winning most weeks and who are riding high in our division. Needless to say, it was a very pleasant journey back home.
Finally, I would like to say thank you to those Slimbridge supporters who sportingly applauded the Totton players off at the end of the game today. You do not see victorious away sides clapped off too often nowadays, so thank you very much for that.