HEROIC HALL’S PENALTY SAVE ALLOWS STAGS TO COME HOME WITH DESERVED VICTORY
Highworth Town 1-2 AFC Totton
AFC Totton looked like they were going to regret several missed chances, but they deservedly held on despite some late Highworth pressure & some late penalty drama to win last night’s Southern League game.
The Stags got off to a bright start & had an early chance after 2 minutes. Liam Callaghan intercepted the ball halfway inside the Highworth half, but his shot from 20 yards was blocked & went behind for a corner. The home side responded & Matt Hall was alert in rushing to the edge of his box to block an effort from the onrushing Ben Lodge.
After 5 minutes a long throw from Patrick Nolan found Craig Feeney on the left side of the penalty area, but his shot from a tight angle was put behind for a corner. The resulting kick from Adam McWilliam drifted past the far post.
After 12 minutes the home side wasted a good chance to score after Patrick Nolan was dispossessed just outside of his own penalty area. James Harrison passed to the ball to Jacob Davidge, but his shot was well wide of the goal.
After 14 minutes a flowing move involving Robin Nicholls & Liam Callaghan fed the ball to Silvano Obeng on the left near the penalty area. He rolled the ball back to Robin Nicholls, who fired over the bar from 25 yards. The Stags went close 2 minutes later when Patrick Nolan found Silvano Obeng inside the box. He picked out Craig Feeney whose fierce shot was blocked & then cleared.
The Stags had another chance on 22 minutes when Patrick Nolan’s long throw into the box was headed just wide of the far upright by Callum Chugg from 8 yards out. Any Highworth attacks were comfortably being dealt with by the resolute combination of Dave Allen & Jack Smith in the centre of the Stags defence.
After 30 minutes a long pass forward saw Craig Feeney just ahead of the 2 chasing defenders, but his effort from 20 yards flew just past the upright. Highworth then had their best spell of the half but the Stags were comfortably dealing with any balls played into the box.
After 41 minutes some tidy passing from Totton saw Patrick Nolan find Adam McWilliam halfway inside the Highworth half. His pass forward picked out Liam Callaghan on the edge of the box & his shot flew just wide of the post.
Totton continued to press forward & again went close just before half time. Craig Feeney collected the ball inside the Highworth half, beat 2 defenders as he raced forward before shooting just over the bar from 25 yards. The Stags had been the better team & had several good opportunities to have gone in at half time with the lead.
Half Time: Highworth Town 0-0 AFC Totton
There was a nervous moment for the Stags at the start of the second half when James Harrison went down the right & was forced out wide, but his attempted cross drifted just over bar.
After 52 minutes an attempted clearance by Jack Masterton was blocked & the ball fell to Jacob Davidge on the edge of the Stags penalty area. His shot was blocked by Jack Smith before he won a free kick for having his shirt pulled.
The Stags took a deserved lead after 55 minutes when a ball into the box was cleared to Adam McWilliam. From 25 yards out he took a touch to control the ball, then he unleashed a ferocious strike into the bottom corner of the goal to make it 1-0 to the Stags.
After 58 minutes following a good build up, Patrick Nolan threaded the ball through to Craig Feeney who from a tight angle saw his shot put behind by Highworth keeper Connor Johns for a corner. With 62 minutes gone, some solid defending just outside his own penalty area from Jack Smith allowed Dave Allen to clear the ball upfield. The Stags made their first substitution of the evening on 69 minutes when Liam Callaghan was replaced by Ollie Bradley.
The Stags continued to create chances & on 72 minutes Ollie Bradley picked out Silvano Obeng just inside the left side of the box. His fierce shot was pushed out by the keeper, who then bravely smothered his rebound shot. After 73 minutes Highworth had a chance to equalise when the dangerous Ashley Edenborough lifted the ball over the bar from the edge of the box, while under pressure from Jack Smith & Dave Allen.
The Stags doubled their lead on 78 minutes from a corner. The out swinging ball from Adam McWilliam was headed home by Jack Smith, despite an attempt to clear the ball off the line & a swinging leg from Silvano Obeng. Highworth instantly pulled a goal back on 79 minutes when Daniel Drewett burst down the right & crossed to Ashley Edenborough, who glanced his near post header home from 6 yards out.
Highworth were starting to pile on some late pressure & almost equalised on 85 minutes when Ashley Edenborough ran onto a through ball, but his shot from inside the box was brilliantly tipped over the bar by Stags keeper Matt Hall.
On 87 minutes Highworth were awarded a penalty when Matt Hall brought down Ashley Edenborough while attempting to block the ball from the onrushing striker. The referee produced a yellow card for the young Stag, who made a genuine attempt to win the ball. The vociferous few behind the goal were unhappy with the yellow card, but clearly not aware of the rule which was correctly applied by the referee. The kick from Callum McGhee-Parsons was saved low to his right by Matt Hall who then brilliantly blocked the follow up to keep the 2-1 lead intact.
The Stags stood strong and on the balance of play deserved the three points as the final whistle blew.
Full Time: Highworth Town 1-2 AFC Totton
Report by Richard Matthews