AFC Totton AFC Totton Pitching In - Partners with Southern Football League


PROMOTION PLAY-OFF chasing Hungerford Town brought AFC Totton’s six-match unbeaten run to an end during a closely fought Southern League Premier Division South encounter at the Town Ground in Berkshire.

Totton mounted the first serious attack when Bennett and McIntosh exchanged passes to progress down the right, before the latter’s cross from the byline was volleyed over by Rendell. There were claims for a penalty against Hallett when a throw-in from the Hungerford left was headed goalward at the near post; the Referee was unmoved.

Taylor ran at three defenders, forcing them back into the Hungerford box, before going to ground. The Referee awarded a free-kick the other way for simulation, but thought better of showing the winger a yellow card. Then, McIntosh won a free-kick on the right. Bennett passed forward to Lee, who scurried to the byline and stood a cross to the back post which Taylor leapt high to head, landing the ball on top of the net.

The Crusaders took the lead when Conor McDonagh dropped deep into a pocket of space in midfield to receive the ball. Afforded the freedom of West Berkshire, he was able to spread the play wide for Fabio Lopes, who took on Bennett and crossed to the far post where Conor McDONAGH arrived to plant a firm header beyond Josh Gould and into the left side of Totton’s goal.

Taylor almost equalised straight away, firing a low angled shot from the left corner of the Hungerford box narrowly wide of the right-hand post. Then, Oastler made a sliding tackle to prevent Jacob Gardiner-Smith progressing down the right wing.

Clever wing play by Lopes on the left created an opening for Joseph Shepherd, whose volley from the edge of the area crept wide of the right-hand post. Then, Jefford’s throw from the Totton left presented Lee with a chance that he headed wide for a goal-kick, despite his protestations to the Referee that it had taken a touch off a defender.

Hallett’s long ball was flicked on by Lee for McIntosh to drive in a shot from the edge of the penalty area, which goalkeeper Ryan Clarke saved low to his left.

In the second half, Bennett showed an impressive turn of pace to get back and take the ball off McDonagh after a defensive mix-up gave the ball to the Hungerford No.10. Iandolo took aim at the home side’s goal from a 25-yard free-kick that took a deflection off the defensive wall and went wide for a corner that The Crusaders dealt with.

Captain Matthew Berry-Hargreaves was booked for a shove on Taylor just off the left corner of the penalty area. Bennett’s cross found Hallett beyond the far post, but from a tight angle, he could only head the ball over the crossbar.

Totton were asserting themselves more in the second half, although The Crusaders’ defence dealt admirably with the high, direct approach often favoured by The Stags. A promising flurry of blocked shots and crosses ended when Oastler blasted the ball way over the crossbar and out of the stadium.

Jefford’s long throw was flicked on by Rendell. Taylor tried an acrobatic volley that struck the defender standing right behind him. Then, Bennett intercepted a pass in the Totton half and drove forward down the right, before picking out Rendell on the edge of the box. The centre-forward took a touch and smashed a ferocious volley on the turn to pull an excellent reaction save out of Clarke.

Jefford twice went close, having the ball scraped off the line and then firing over from substitute Luque’s short pass, before Luque struck a late effort into the side-netting.

Final Score: Hungerford Town 1-0 AFC Totton

Attendance: 408
Star Man: Fabio Lopes (Hungerford Town)
Entertainment Value: 3/5
Author: Ben Rochey-Adams

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