SLOPPY STAGS RUN OVER BY A LYMO
AFC Totton 0 Lymington Town 2
The Russell cotes cup is a competition that TottonFC/AFC Totton have won three times previously, the original Totton FC won the competition back in 1939, then AFC Totton won the competition in 1982 and 1989.
This competition may not be high on many local club’s priority list nowadays, but it still offered the Stags a chance of some silverware, and the club hasn’t had any silverware since they won the Hampshire Senior cup in 2011.
Last night’s quarter final tie at home to the Sydenhams Wessex Premier’s 5th placed side Lymington Town offered the Stags a chance to reach the last four, Yes, we knew that Lymington would be no pushovers, but we also knew that if we were ‘at it’ from minute one, then there is a reasonable chance that we could progress to the Semi Finals. However, we were not ‘at it’ from minute one and we were deservedly knocked out by the better side on the night.
The Stags allowed the Linnets to seize control early on and they were given a warning when Ali Zintany was almost played in after 4 minutes, but keeper Amadeusz Skryniarz was alert enough to sweep up the danger. In those early exchanges it was quite clear that Lymington possessed enough in their armory to give the Stags problems.
One of the biggest issues with the performance on the evening was that the Stags were being too loose with their passing, and they almost allowed Dom Falco to get in on goal after a poor pass from Richard Bakary allowed the Linnets to bare down on the Totton goal, but thanks to an alert Skryniarz no damage was done. Skryniarz came to the rescue to quickly come out and clear.
Totton’s 1st decent forward move came after 15 minutes when after a four pass move down the left saw Liam Callaghan almost manage to get in an effort on goal from the left of the area, but he was denied by a firm defensive tackle.
Gradually Totton improved and Matt Bozier sent a deflected shot into the side netting, this led to a corner that was met by Jack Smith’s header, but Smith’s effort was gathered by Lymo’s former Totton keeper Ross Casey.
Lymington had their best chance of the evening so far in the 20th minute when a lovely defence splitting pass from Marcus Cullen played in Falco and the Lymington striker pulled a really good save out of Skryniarz.
Then on 22 minutes Totton were left wondering how they didn’t take the lead when Craig Feeney got down the flank and shook off a challenge before he cut a ball back for Liam Callaghan. Somehow Callaghan fired wide when it looked easier to score.
Although Totton were creating a few opportunities now they were far from convincing and Lymington seemed to be showing a greater desire in challenging for every ball, and it was the visitors who had the next effort on goal when Mickey Finch fired wide.
Totton tried a short corner routine to try and catch out the visitors, but Jack Smiths shot probably woke up a family of squirrels living in the tree’s behind the car park.
Totton’s loose passing was still giving their fans a few heart flutters, and one of those loose passes saw the visitors force a corner on their right. From that corner the visitors took the lead when another former Stag Nathan Hurst rose to head home at the near post.
Totton were very unfortunate not to be level within 90 seconds of conceding when they were denied three times in quick succession by Linnets keeper Casey. Craig Feeney was the 1st to shoot from the left of the area and Casey beat the ball away, the ball then fell to Callaghan and his shot was also pushed away and the ball came back to Feeney once again and Feeney’s next shot was also pushed away and eventually Lymington cleared their lines.
Totton were then inches away from equalising once more, and again it was a chance for Feeney, who was played in by Adam McWilliam. Feeney picked up McWilliam’s pass on the left of the box and he got around a defender before aiming a shot across Casey, aiming for the far side of the net, but agonisingly for Totton’s top scorer the ball rolled wide of the right hand post.
Half-time: AFC Totton 0 Lymington Town 1
Totton’s once again started the half slowly and the Linnets were looking the better side, they seemed to have a greater hunger and desire, which was disappointing in fact Totton’s 2nd half performance offered little to excite the loyal fans who had come out on a wet drizzly evening to watch the match.
The visitors had a free kick saved by Skryniarz, then they had a dangerous corner from Luke Churchill flash across the face of Totton’s goal. The way the 2nd half had started it was as if the Stags hadn’t emerged from the changing rooms, they were 2nd best for the 1st 10 minutes of the 2nd half.
The Stags 1st attack came on 56 minutes when Feeney put in a low left-wing cross in for Callaghan, who met it, but the ball flew off of keeper Casey without the Lymington keeper knowing much about it.
Louis Langdown then made a double substitution by bringing on Pip Nolan for Liam Farrugia and Silvano Obeng on for Adam McWilliam.
The substitutions had done little to liven the Totton performance, in fact on 65 minutes things got worse for the Stags when Lymington Captain Tim Stephenson rose to head the Linnets into a two-goal lead. Nobody could argue with the scoreline, the side with the greater desire were two goals to the good, and rightly so!
Totton briefly showed signs of life when Jack Masterton’s free kick was headed wide by Mitchell Byrne.
More loose passing, this time from Byrne allowed Falco in on goal by Skryniarz saved Totton’s blushes on this occasion.
The game was now entering the last 10 minutes and Totton were not creating much at all, but they did flicker into life for a few moments when Masterton’s cross was met by Obeng, but the ball just hit the Totton striker before rolling to Casey. Then Richard Bakary cut in from the right and shot for goal, but Casey made a save, then a little while later Ollie Bradley (The 3rd Totton Substitute, who came on for Matt Bozier) put over a cross for Feeney, who had his back to goal and Feeney turned and shot at goal, but his shot lacked power and Casey easily saved. With a minute to go Smith saw his header from a Masterton corner pushed onto the bar by Casey.
Full time: AFC Totton 0 Lymington Town 2