TAYLOR HITS WOODWORK TWICE AS TAVVY HOLD STAGS TO STALEMATE
Table-topping Totton went to West Devon for a rainswept midweek fixture at Tavistock AFC’s Langsford Park. In difficult conditions, The Stags dominated possession but despite hitting the home team’s woodwork on two occasions, they couldn’t find the crucial breakthrough against a stubborn Lambs defence.
The pattern of the game became apparent during the first 10 minutes, with Tavistock sitting off Totton and inviting their visitors to come forward. Jimmy Ball’s team pushed the ball from left to right across their back four and looked for opportunities down both flanks, but frequently found their pathways blocked by well-drilled defensive play.
Rendell had a brief glimpse of goal when he managed to turn his marker inside the box, only for a covering defender to stab the ball away. Wright’s follow-up cannoned back off another red-and-black shirt. Then, Jefford intercepted from a promising move for the home team to enable Totton to spring forward. Davis crossed from the right but the ball eluded Taylor, sliding in on the wet surface in the middle of the goal.
Wright received possession from Carter’s header to drive a 22-yard snapshot that was well-saved by Joshua Oak low to his left. Then, at the other end, strong hold up play by Edward Harrison enabled him and Ben Cross to create an opening in the inside-right channel for Oscar Massey. He advanced and shot into the side-netting.
Beyond that, the closest the home side came in the first half was to tempt Noice out of his goal to kick clear a couple of times. Meanwhile, Totton’s service into the Lambs’ area was repelled by an organised and physically imposing defence. The heavy pitch took its toll on Wright, who had to be replaced by Burrows just before the break.
Taylor was taken down early in the second half, as he tried to latch onto Masterton’s pass down the left-hand side. Davis sent the free-kick towards the far side, where it was left untouched to flash past the post. Then on 50 minutes, Taylor put the ball in the net from Rendell’s cutting pass, but the offside flag ruled it out.
Carter made an important intervention to crowd Massey out through the middle. Totton went forward and won another free-kick on the left, this time Hallett jumped between two defenders to head a Davis cross wide at the far post.
Hallett then turned provider, freeing Taylor to attack down the left flank. The winger’s first attempt was blocked and when the ball bounced back to him, he unleashed a right-footed shot that beat Oak and smacked against the far post. Then, Davis and Masterton earned a corner on the left that was only partially cleared. Benny Read fired from distance through a crowded area; Oak brilliantly parried over the crossbar.
Read, Carmichael and Carter combined on the right to enable the latter to send a high cross towards the penalty spot, where Rendell headed over the bar under pressure. As the game became increasingly frenetic, Carter slipped Taylor in at inside-left and the Totton No.10 again beat the goalkeeper only to see his effort rebound off the crossbar.
Totton toiled and probed, having to defend the occasional counter-attack. Massey got free to the right of The Stags’ penalty spot when the visitors failed to clear a cross; Noice sprung off his line and repelled the shot with his legs.
Tavistock cleared one off the line from a Davis left-wing corner. Then, deep into stoppage time, Masterton crossed high from the left for Rendell to head back across goal. Taylor raced in ahead of his marker but steered the ball over the bar from close range, ending a tough night on the road for The Stags, who nevertheless remain unbeaten in their last eleven league games.
FT: Tavistock AFC 0-0 AFC Totton
MotM: Luke Hallett
Entertainment Value: 2/5
Author: Ben Rochey-Adams
Photos: Ian West