BACK TO WINNING WAYS FOR LANGDOWN’S STAGS
Slimbridge 0 AFC Totton 2
By Sean McGlead
Louis Langdown made three changes to the eleven that started in the midweek home defeat to Paulton Rovers. In came Stuart Mott for Callum Chugg, Dave Allen for Jack Smith and Toby Adekunle for Matt Bozier. Smith, Chugg and Bozier all joined Alfy Whittingham and Robin Nicholls on the bench.
The game started well for the home side as they forced a couple of early corners, the 2nd of which was headed wide by Swans captain Alex Hoyle. The Stags went down the other end and created a great chance with Toby Adekunle being denied by Slimbridge keeper Ollie Hall after good work from Craig Feeney and Curtis Young.
The home side looked a threat and Sam Turl got down the right for Slimbridge and he put over a cross that Dean Turner headed wide. The Stags were then awarded a free kick after Connor York was fouled, the kick was taken by Jack Masterton and Tony Lee got in a header that was smothered by Hall.
On 17 minutes the home side came very close to scoring when an Adam Mace free kick was headed clear by Jack Barker, the ball ended up at the feet of Turner whose 20-yard shot scraped the outside of the right-hand post.
The Stags then had a good 5-minute spell that started with Young firing into the side netting, his effort took a deflection and the resulting corner was headed away by a defender as far as Young once again and this time Young’s 20-yard shot went just wide. Shortly afterwards a Masterton free kick evaded everybody in the box expect Dave Allen who came in towards the back post, but his effort went wide.
The home side then created a couple of half chances when Mace crossed for Turner who headed over the bar. A couple of minutes later Korey Pring sent over a cross that Mike Bryant met with a decent header, on this occasion Shane Murphy was called upon to turn the header away.
In between those two Slimbridge opportunities Toby Adekunle sent a shot across the face of the Swans goal for Totton.
Half Time: Slimbridge 0 AFC Totton 0
Just a minute after the resumption in play, Stags keeper Murphy was called into action, having to pull off a save from Joe Wilton. The swans No 10 got on the end of a cross from Mace, but fortunately Murphy was alert to the danger.
Then came a moment of controversy when Slimbridge captain Alex Hoyle got embroiled in an argument with referee Scott Chalkey. Whatever was said didn’t go down well with the man in black who pulled from his pocket a yellow card, which was Hoyle’s 2nd of the game, so off he went for an early bath, reducing the home side to 10 men.
The officials were certainly at the centre of attention because a few minutes later the Stags were on the wrong end of a couple of decisions from the officials, firstly being denied a penalty after Adekunle appeared to be fouled in the box. This was followed by another controversial moment when Tony Lee had the ball in the net. It appeared Initially that the goal had been given as the Totton players made their way back into their own half to resume play, but after complaints from a number of Slimbridge players the officials decided that there was an offside prior to Lee netting a spillage from Slimbridge keeper Hall. So, the goal was chalked off.
Just a moment after the disallowed goal Lee found himself in on goal again and this time he was denied by the legs of Hall. It was becoming increasingly frustrating for the Stags as they tried to make the extra man count.
The frustration continued a short while later when that man Hall once again prevented the Stags going ahead, this time denying Feeney who was through one on one with the Swans stopper, but Hall did tremendously well to push Feeney’s shot wide of the post.
With 15 minutes left on the clock the Stags finally broke the deadlock when Alfy Whittingham set up GUNSON by heading the ball through to him with his first touch after coming on as a substitute for Curtis Young, Whittingham’s header through meant Gunson was in on goal and he fired past Hall and the relief was enormous for the Stags supporters present.
To be fair to Slimbridge they came back at Totton and Murphy had to be at his best to deny Wilton with a fine save from a fierce angled shot. Slimbridge seemed intent on getting level and in doing so they were leaving the back door ajar and this allowed Gunson to get in on goal once more and that man Hall denied him with his legs. Then Tony Lee found himself denied by Hall again, this time the Swans keeper did superbly well to tip Lee’s effort wide of his right-hand post.
Then with the 90 minutes up and three added minutes signalled by the bench, the home side had a half decent chance to snatch a leveller. A free kick from Mace was punched away by Murphy, the ball then fell to Turner just inside the box and he watched his shot go a couple of feet over the bar, it was a real heart in the mouth moment for the Stags fans.
Then in the 92nd minute Totton hit the home side on the break and a move ended with Masterton sliding a ball through to LEE in the box and Lee took a couple of strides forward and fired low inside the right-hand post, despite Hall’s best efforts the ball hit the back of the net securing three valuable points for the Stags.
Full Time: Slimbridge 0 AFC Totton 2
Totton were by no means at their best, but they were worthy of the three points. If it wasn’t for Slimbridge keeper Hall the Stags could have won by a more convincing margin. Slimbridge were quite plucky and gave the Stags a few nervy moments, but the right team won the game. This win pushes the Stags back into the top eight.
Next up for Totton is a Russell Cotes quarter final tie at Fleet Town on Tuesday evening (7.45pm)