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2nd Round - Tuesday 20 September 2022

AFC PORTCHESTER                           2
Harry Beckley 44mins; Liam Robinson 53mins

AFC TOTTON                                         0

A much-changed AFC Totton side slumped to defeat in the 2nd Round of the Hampshire Senior Cup on Tuesday night, as Wessex League Premier Division highfliers AFC Portchester progressed with a comfortable home win.

Jimmy Ball made eight changes to the side that started the Emirates FA Cup match at Havant & Waterlooville on Saturday, handing first team debuts to Italian goalkeeper Giulio Girelli and 17-year-old right-back Connor Ings. Lewis Waterfield made his first start of the season, with Pascal Kpohomouh starting for the first time since the opening day win over Bishop’s Cleeve. Eastleigh-loanee Seung-Woo Yang returned to the team, while Jireh Oyebamiji made his first start since the defeat to Sholing. Teenaged midfielder Owen Pelham was named among the substitutes. Luke Hallett took the captain’s armband for the first time as an AFC Totton player.

AFC-Totton-badge.pngAFC TOTTON
Starting Line-Up

1.  Giulio GIRELLI
2.  Connor INGS
3.  Jordan RAGGUETTE
5.  Pascal KPOHOMOUH
6.  Luke HALLETT (Capt.)
7.  Yemi ODUBADE
8.  Seung-Woo YANG
9.  Brett WILLIAMS
10.  Jireh OYEBAMIJI
11.  Jake ADAMS
12.  Lewis NOICE
14.  Owen PELHAM
15.  Charlie KENNEDY
16.  Enrique RUSSELL
17.  Freddie READ

Portchester, who wore all-orange with black trim, named two former Stags in their starting line-up. Striker Ryan Pennery, who endured an injury-ravaged spell at the Snows Stadium, has arrived at the Wicor Recreation Ground via Gosport Borough. And Liam Robinson, who was AFC Totton’s Assistant Manager under Dan Sackman, recovered from a long-term knee injury to take the No.11 shirt for The Royals. In addition, popular Polish goalkeeper Amadeusz Skrzyniarz was involved in the home team’s warm-up session, having signed from Lymington Town in midweek but not soon enough to be registered for this match. Former AFC Bournemouth, Portsmouth and Eastleigh striker Brett Pitman was named on the bench.

With Totton in their fluo yellow away kit, it was a game of Oranges & Lemons under the floodlights, and the Stags made an energetic start with Jordan Ragguette and Jake Adams making swift progress down the left wing, ably supported by Seung-Woo Yang, before they got crowded out trying to play into the box at the inside-left channel.

Portchester right-back Charlie Williamson set off on an enterprising forward run in the 4th minute, before laying the ball off to the left to be clipped into the Totton penalty area where Ryan Wilkins tried to volley on the full but miscued his effort wide to the right. The home side had another attempt on the Totton goal a minute later, when a corner from the right-hand side was knocked out to the edge of the area where Jake Raine fired over Giulio Girelli’s crossbar.

Yemi Odubade led a brief foray into the Portchester half but his pass to Jireh Oyebamiji was knocked back to Steven Mawthorpe in the home team’s goal before JJ could latch onto it. Liam Robinson picked up a loose ball on the Portchester right and swung a high cross towards the back post where Pascal Kpohomouh headed clear with a forward lurking just over his shoulder.

Yang did well to track back quickly to prevent Williamson delivering into the box from the right-wing byline. From the resulting corner, Ryan Wilkins out-jumped everyone on the edge of the 6-yard box but he couldn’t get a strong contact on the ball, glancing it wide of the left-hand post.

Lewis Waterfield-5_Slimbridge vs AFC Totton_SLD1S_23Apr22.jpg
AFC Totton midfielder Lewis Waterfield.

Lewis Waterfield’s pass from the centre-circle sent Oyebamiji on a chase into the inside-right channel where he tussled for possession and laid it back to Connor Ings. The young full-back’s cross dropped over a defender but seemed to surprise Brett Williams in the middle, whose header was well-wide but clipped off another defender for a corner. Odubade crossed to the far post but behind Kpohomouh, forcing Totton to have to react quickly to deal with a Portchester counter-attack.

A foul on Yang provided Totton with a free-kick mid-way inside the Portchester half. A short routine between Adams and Odubade broke down but Ragguette regained possession in midfield and strode forward before unleashing a shot from 25 yards that flew just over the bar and into the scaffolding in the stand behind the goal.

A clever turn by Luke Hallett near the half-way line enabled him to lay the ball square to Adams, who advanced down the left wing while exchanging passes with the busy Yang. A defender managed to poke Yang’s return pass away from Adams, but the Eastleigh-loanee reacted first to intercept the loose ball and drive a low shot that Mawthorpe saved in the middle of his goal. Harrison Brook then had a brief chance for Portchester at the other end, his shot ricocheting off a couple of Totton defenders before the Stags cleared their lines.

Totton threatened in the 21st minute when Adams caught an opponent in possession and surged forward before slipping the ball to Yang. His neat reverse pass played Oyebamiji into the box but when the chance needed a first-time shot on his left foot, JJ tried to shift the ball to his right, giving the recovering defender the opportunity to slide in and smother the chance.

Just before the half-hour mark, Totton had Portchester pinned back into their own penalty area with Jake Adams on the ball in a central area with a plethora of orange shirts between him and the goal. Ragguette called loudly for the ball as he motored into position on the left-wing, and when he received Adams’s square pass he curled a cross to the far post where Williams got to it but headed over the bar.

Portchester looked most dangerous down their right-hand side, where the energetic full-back Charlie Williamson was able to combine with Liam Robinson to make quick progress down the flank. On occasions, though, they moved so quickly that the players in the middle couldn’t keep up, leading to crosses into the Totton box with no orange shirt present to apply the finish.

Williams spread the play out to the right wing in the 37th minute, where Ings collected and fed Odubade’s run to the byline. He whipped the ball in low and Oyebamiji got across his marker, clipping his shot narrowly wide of the right-hand post. A couple of minutes later, Odubade’s corner from the right was headed out with Hallett looking to swoop.

Hallett survived a penalty shout from the home side when Robinson’s cross from the right struck his arm; it was more ball-to-hand than hand-to-ball but we’ve all seen them given. Then, Ryan Pennery came close to notching a goal against his former team with a right-footed shot from the left of the area that looped past Girelli but hit the right-hand post and bounced out.

It proved to be only a brief reprieve for Totton, though. Williamson earned the praise of the home fans by battling successfully for the ball near the half-way line despite the efforts of Brett Williams, Adams and Yang to take it from him. Then, Portchester went forward down their left wing, working their way to the byline before chipping to the far post where Harry BECKLEY was unmarked to nod The Royals into the lead, one minute before half-time.

Jake Adams ran at the opposition straight from the kick-off and earned a free-kick about 25 yards out, left of the D. Having earned the free-kick, Adams took it himself, bending his left-footed shot towards the top-right corner but, ultimately, too high.

AFC PORTCHESTER                          1
AFC TOTTON                                        0

Jimmy Ball withdrew Jireh Oyebamiji, who appeared to be limping, during the break. Freddie Read came on to replace him, suggesting a change of shape with Brett Williams and Yemi Odubade going further forward.

Kpohomouh was alert to defend his near post from an early second-half cross from Portchester’s left wing. Play had to be stopped three minutes into the second period when Hallett’s clearance took him through the challenge of Beckley.

A quick free-kick in the 51st minute enabled Totton to work Connor Ings into a dangerous crossing position, but his delivery was too hard and floated out of play for a goal-kick. And within a minute, Portchester were two-goals to the good.

Passing the ball around with confidence and purpose, they found left-back Conor Bailey in space on the left wing. He had the time to look up and measure his cross into the penalty area where Liam ROBINSON got across his marker and planted a firm header into the left side of the goal, leaving Giulio Girelli with no chance of saving it. The former Totton Assistant Manager was clearly delighted, sprinting to the corner flag and pulling off a knee-slide that many a younger man would have thought better of even attempting.

Waterfield was beaten to a loose ball in midfield by Beckley, who shot wide of the left-hand post from outside the box. Then, Pennery took advantage of a fortunate ricochet to run through the heart of the Totton defence before driving a shot from the D, which Girelli saved comfortably.

Liam Robinson then made way for the home side, to be replaced by Marley Ridge. Williamson was then allowed to carry the ball a long way forward for the hosts. Bailey tried to control his cross at the back post but Ings was able to poke the ball behind. Williamson headed over from the resulting corner.

On 65 minutes, Jimmy Ball introduced central midfielder Owen Pelham for his competitive AFC Totton debut, along with forward Enrique Russell. Lewis Waterfield and Brett Williams departed the field.

Despite the changes, Portchester were looking the more likely to add to the scoreline, with Raine curling his effort just over the top-right corner of the Stags’ goal after intercepting Hallett’s pass out from the back.

Ragguette tried to cross the ball into the Portchester box in the 71st minute. It was blocked and fell to Adams, whose long-range effort lacked both the conviction and the accuracy to trouble Mawthorpe. Portchester were looking comfortable and good value for their two-goal lead. Odubade managed to force the ball to Enrique Russell, who was surrounded by orange shirts before he could get his shot away, the ball eventually landing comfortably with Mawthorpe.

Jake Adams-3_Slimbridge vs AFC Totton_SLD1S_23Apr22.jpg
AFC Totton playmaker, Jake Adams.

Ings got forward down the right flank for Totton, exchange passes with Russell before crossing to the far side where Odubade would have had a tap-in but for an excellently-timed sliding tackle by Williamson, prompting some half-hearted appeals for a penalty from the travelling contingent.

Ragguette played a reverse pass to put Odubade through on the left, a defender getting across to block his attempt for a corner, which Totton were unable to capitalise upon. Then, the scorer of Portchester’s first goal was taken off to be replaced by James Cowan. Shortly after, the home side made their third and final substitution by withdrawing the impressive right-back Charlie Williamson, who had received treatment for an injury, and sending on George Barker.

Owen Pelham and Adams worked the ball over to right wing for the Stags. Yang joined in and Adams found half a yard to line up a long-range shot, which flew over the bar.

Giulio Girelli gave a glimpse of his goalkeeping ability with a flying one-handed save at his top-left corner to turn away a curling shot from James Cowan, although the flag was up for offside against the Portchester sub.

Totton continued to press forward in search of an opportunity but too much of what they tried to do was off-the-cuff, with players struggling to get on the same wavelength. Adams was bright and keen to receive the ball in advanced positions, but Portchester’s well-organised defence closed off every avenue for an incisive pass. Russell managed to tip-toe through a few challenges in the crowded penalty area, but his shot was deflected wide and the Referee then awarded a free-kick to the home side as the corner came in.

Into stoppage time, Yemi Odubade collected the ball on the left, dropped his right shoulder and scampered forward before taking aim on the Portchester goal, his shot hitting a defender. Then, Freddie Read’s attempt was charged down on the edge of the penalty area, as The Royals stood firm to protect their clean sheet.

Jimmy Ball_AFC Totton Manager_August2022.jpg

After the match, AFC Totton manager Jimmy Ball (pictured) said:

“We gave a few lads opportunities tonight. It’s their responsibility to take them - I can’t do it for them. We talk about out-running and out-fighting but we didn’t really do that. Portchester the better side and won fair and square.

“We looked nice and pretty and played in front of people. We didn’t really get a decent cross or shot all night. There were a couple of positives but people have to take their opportunities. Some of them didn’t do that tonight and I have to pick my teams according to that.

“The main core of the team got rested tonight ahead of a big game against Berkhamsted on Saturday. We will need to get back to the levels we managed against Havant. We want to win every game we play. Berkhamsted look like good opposition, so it will be a difficult game. They’re a good side but so are we and our performances at home have been very good.”

Isuzu FA Trophy | 2nd Round Qualifying | Snows Stadium | Saturday 24 September 2022 | Kick-Off 3:00pm

View AFC Totton’s fixture list for the 2022/23 season

By Ben Rochey-Adams

Images courtesy of Craig Hobbs Photography

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