Reliant 10 men Stags battle for draw.
AFC Totton showed tremendous resilience to earn a point at home to Wimborne Town after going down to 10 men late in the first half, following the dismissal of defender Ben Jefford.
Both teams went into the match at the Snows Stadium in midtable, the visitors with recently-installed Manager Tim Sills looking to build on Saturday’s win over Paulton Rovers.
The Stags dominated the early stages, though both sides struggled to create clear cut chances. On 15 minutes, Ethan Taylor saw a brilliant 25-yard effort flash narrowly wide of the left-hand post. Shortly after, Taylor bore down on the Wimborne goal with just the keeper to beat but was denied by a superb last-ditch recovery tackle by The Magpies’ captain Ashley Wells.
The remainder of the half was hard-fought, with quality football in the final third at a premium. The game became fractious during the latter stages of the first half, with the referee issuing several yellow cards. Shortly before half-time, Ben Jefford received a straight red card for his part in an altercation with Jez Bedford following a tussle near the half-way line. Bedford was booked.
The visitors finished the half in buoyant mood, looking to press home their numerical advantage. However, they couldn’t breach Lewis Noice’s goal so the two sides went in level at the break.
Wimborne continued to dominate early in the second half and went ahead nine minutes after the restart. The Magpies capitalised on the extra space by playing early substitute Harry BAKER into the right side of the penalty area to fire across Noice, into the far corner.
Despite their setbacks, Totton pushed on in search of a foothold in the game. Half-time sub Jireh Oyebamiji had a shot deflected wide in the 70th minute from Scott Rendell’s headed knockdown.
The home side kept working hard and gained their reward with an equaliser in the 72nd minute. From a free-kick on the Totton right, midway inside Wimborne territory, Taylor delivered a delicious in-swinging cross that dipped just behind the penalty spot. Luke HALLETT rose highest to plant his header into the right corner of the goal to level the scores with his first competitive AFC Totton goal.
The match transformed into a fascinating spectacle of end-to-end football, with either side equally as likely to take the spoils, especially with the 10-men of Totton prepared to risk leaving themselves open at the back as they hunted for a late winning goal.
Oyebamiji could have won it in the 82nd minute when he latched onto Charlie Kennedy’s ball in behind, beating the onrushing keeper to chip first-time from 20 yards, his effort clipping the top of the crossbar.
The Stags were not short of chances as they pushed for a winner but fell agonisingly short at the last hurdle. Sub Jake Adams took on two defenders deep into stoppage time and struck a powerful shot, but Benjamin Rodwell was equal to it in the Wimborne goal, ensuring his team returned to Dorset with a point.
FINAL SCORE: AFC Totton 1-1 Wimborne Town
Author: Kyle Pogue-Elms