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Saturday 25 November 2023 | Holloways Park, Beaconsfield | Att: 171



AFC TOTTON                                   2
Joe Turner 55mins, 76mins

JOE TURNER’S REMARKABLE start to life as a Stag continued at Holloways Park in Buckinghamshire (Saturday 25 November 2023) as the attacking midfielder bagged two goals against hosts Beaconsfield Town, who had a player sent-off midway through the second half, to hand AFC Totton all three points and take his personal tally to six goals in just four games since joining the club barely a fortnight ago.

Manager Jimmy Ball made one change from the side that overcame Havant & Waterlooville in last weekend’s Isuzu FA Trophy tie, with forward Jordan Chiedozie dropping to the bench to be replaced by former AFC Wimbledon and Lewes midfielder Alfie Egan for his AFC Totton debut. Two more newcomers, Luke Bennett and Ashton Pickles, were also named among the substitutes.

AFC-Totton-badge.pngAFC TOTTON
Starting XI

1.  Lewis NOICE
2.  Benny READ
6.  Luke HALLETT
15.  Sam MAGRI
3.  Jordan RAGGUETTE
7.  Joseph OASTLER
5.  Charlie KENNEDY
14.  Alfie EGAN
17.  Leon MALONEY
18. Joe TURNER
9.  Scott RENDELL (Capt.)
8.  Adam TOMASSO
12.  Jordan CHIEDOZIE
16.  Alfie STANLEY
19.  Luke BENNETT
20.  Ashton PICKLES

Beaconsfield Town vs AFC Totton-1_SLPDS-15_Sat25Nov2023.jpg
PUT IT THERE: Beaconsfield Town and AFC Totton players become acquainted prior to their Southern League Premier Division South encounter at Holloways Park in Buckinghamshire.

Beaconsfield, who began the season poorly but improved their form after beating Sholing on the 3G pitch at Holloways Park towards the end of September, were clad in all-red while The Stags wore their gun metal grey and fluo yellow away kit. The game kicked-off under a low-setting sun, brightening up what soon became a bitterly cold afternoon in Buckinghamshire.

The home side applied early pressure on the AFC Totton goal. Zidan Akers got to the left-wing byline and crossed, forcing Luke Hallett to divert the ball out of the penalty area with a raised left thigh. Daniel Bradshaw collected and re-centred, the ball again striking Hallett before looping into the air to enable Lewis Noice to step off his line and claim at his near post.

Hallett headed the ball into the Beaconsfield goal from a Leon Maloney free-kick, after a foul on Alfie Egan, but his effort was ruled out for a push amid the ruck of players in the area. Then, miscommunication between Sam Magri and Joe Oastler presented Akers with a sight of goal from 25 yards but he curled his shot into Noice’s midriff.

James Dobson received the ball on the left wing for the home side. He hit a cross-field diagonal looking for a teammate on the right corner of the Totton penalty area. Jordan Ragguette intervened by heading out for the first corner of the match, which was flicked away at the back post by Charlie Kennedy for another corner on the opposite flank. This time the cross was too long and when the ball was lofted in again from the right, Noice caught it.

Magri intercepted a pass midway inside the Totton half and found Benny Read on the right-hand side. A one-two with Maloney enabled him to make progress down the right and when he returned the ball to The Stags’ playmaker, Maloney took a long shot that was blocked by a defender.

Totton were warming to their task, moving the ball around the pitch with greater pace and purpose. Ragguette forced Totton’s first corner on the left, and from Maloney’s cross the ball was stabbed wide by Hallett from within a ruck of players at the near post. Then, a foul by Read gave Beaconsfield a free-kick about 35 yards out on their left. Kennedy headed the delivery away and Joe Turner quickly released Ragguette to counter down the left, and he took on the full-back Master Sankoh whose challenge resulted in the ball ricocheting off Ragguette and going behind for a goal-kick.

Under pressure from Turner, defender Luke Neville conceded a corner on the Totton right. But The Rams captain was well-positioned to head Maloney’s cross clear; Kennedy was alive to the potential of a swift counter-attack, which he kiboshed by making a strong challenge midway inside the home team’s half to send the ball out of play at the touchline.

Totton debutant Alfie Egan, operating in a left midfield role, brought the ball down and found Scott Rendell in the middle. He worked the play out to the right as Read took his cue to go forward, linking with Maloney whose cross deflected off one defender for Neville to head out. Oastler tried to keep the attack alive but a cluster of red shirts managed to remove the danger.

Oastler was called into action in his own half shortly after, making a sliding tackle to interrupt a Beaconsfield attack. The ball popped up for Asher Yearwood to strike from 25 yards, but his shot was caught by Noice.

Totton made half-hearted appeals for a penalty when Read’s cross from the right struck a defender’s arm inside the box. Beaconsfield didn’t stand on ceremony, getting the ball forward to Akers who jockeyed with Hallett on the left corner of the penalty area long enough for Dobson to overlap and deliver a cross-shot from the byline. Noice parried at his near post and although an opponent collected the ball on the far side, he was quickly surrounded by gun metal grey and the threat was quashed at source.

A sharp attacking move instigated by Oastler’s pass to Rendell in the centre-circle freed Maloney down the right-hand side, but his low cross flashed past the incoming Totton players with Turner the closest to making a telling connection. Then, Ragguette skated past a challenge on the left wing before pulling the ball back to Egan on the edge of the area. He squared for Turner, whose low shot banged into the advertising hoarding just past the left-hand post.

Maloney’s movement, aided by the ever-willing Read darting forward and linking up with short, sharp passes, was causing problems down the left side of Beaconsfield’s defence. James Dobson tripped Maloney to concede a free-kick about 30 yards out on the right. The Totton No.17 picked himself up and crossed high into the penalty area. Luke Hallett once again demonstrated his unique leaping ability but could only direct his header wide of the far post.

Two strong tackles from Tom McElroy stopped first Maloney and then Read making progress down the right flank. Then, Joe Turner received the ball just inside the Beaconsfield half of the pitch and seemingly didn’t notice that goalkeeper Matthew Rowley was standing at the edge of his area with the exposed goalmouth behind him inviting a long-range chip. Instead, Turner tried to play Read in down the flank but the ball was turned away.

Hallett was fortunate to see the ball bounce out of play immediately after being caught in possession in his own half. From the resulting corner on the Beaconsfield right, the ball was pulled back for Joshua Payne to attempt a shot from 20 yards, which took a deflection. The loose ball was crossed back into the box but Noice claimed it.

Totton had been the better team overall but they had their goalkeeper to thank for not going behind around the half-hour mark. Turner ran into a cul-de-sac amid a cluster of red shirts, relinquishing possession midway inside the Beaconsfield half. A long forward pass suddenly had two attackers sprinting clear of the Totton defensive line with open acreage between them and Lewis Noice’s goal. Zidan Akers ran through with the ball at his feet; Noice came out to narrow the angle and successfully diverted the shot wide to his left before remonstrating with his defenders, while the AFC Totton dug-out did likewise with the Referee’s Assistant along that touchline regarding the absence of an offside flag. Beaconsfield’s first corner was knocked behind for another; the second presented Akers with a golden opportunity to head his team into the lead from close range but he somehow sent the ball over the crossbar, before dropping his head to his hands in recognition of a wasted goalscoring chance.

Asher Yearwood earned the game’s first yellow card for hand-ball when he stopped Read’s cross from the right-wing byline. Maloney’s cross from the free-kick tempted Hallett into attempting a diving header but he didn’t connect and the ball flew out at the far side.

James Dobson was the next name in the book for shoulder-charging the energetic Maloney to the ground, as he attacked the Beaconsfield box from the right-hand side. The Referee pointed to several different areas of the pitch, indicating that the booking was for an accumulation of fouls rather than the one incident. From the free-kick, Maloney played it short to Egan and after the two players exchanged passes again, the new man drove a shot from the edge of the box that was charge down by a red shirt before the ball was hooked away.

During the one minute of stoppage time at the end of the first half, Magri was quick to get across and slide in under Dobson to prevent him capitalising after Ragguette had been dispossessed further up the left wing. Then, Kennedy headed a dangerous cross clear at the near post to ensure the teams went in level-pegging at the break, with Totton having been the better overall performers but their hosts having had two excellent opportunities to score goals.

BEACONSFIELD TOWN                   0
AFC TOTTON                                         0

Beaconsfield Town vs AFC Totton-2_SLPDS-15_Sat25Nov2023.jpg

Neither side many any changes at half-time, and Zidan Akers was the first player to strike the ball in anger in the second period, driving over the bar from about 25 yards.

Hallett hit a cross-field pass to Maloney on the Totton right, who brought the ball down before being brought down himself by the troublesome Dobson. The Referee pulled The Rams’ No.11 aside to give what was clearly his final warning for persistent fouling, before Maloney sent the free-kick high into the penalty area where Joe Oastler got up well and made a firm connection, heading narrowly over the crossbar from about 14 yards.

Totton were moving the ball around the pitch with confidence and an increased tempo, and they made the breakthrough 10 minutes into the second-half. Benny Read won possession just inside his own half and passed to Maloney on the right flank. AFC Totton Assistant Manager Paul Masters could be heard imploring Maloney to “Get at him!” from the dug-out, and Maloney began to advance before he spotted the unmarked Turner making a run into the inside-right channel. Maloney’s pass was beautifully weighted into his stride and, with Rowley coming out to close the angle, Joe TURNER kept his cool to dink the ball over the goalkeeper and into the left side of the goal to maintain his record of scoring in every game he has played for The Stags.

The visitors came within a whisker of doubling their lead within a couple of minutes, when an intricate passing move involving Maloney, Turner and Read culminated in the Totton right-back chipping the ball into the box. Rendell got across his marker and flicked the ball towards goal with his left boot, his shot beating the ‘keeper but clipping the outside of the left-hand post and going wide. Then, Oastler won the ball in the centre-circle and fed Maloney on the right flank. He ran at the defence and centred with a low cross, which Turner was within inches of connecting with at the far post.

Beaconsfield boss Jon Underwood withdrew Asher Yearwood on the hour mark to send on 44-year-old former Oxford United and Bristol Rovers striker Jefferson Louis. Sweeping attacking moves from both sides threatened to produce more goalmouth action; Lewis Noice had other ideas when he collected the ball on the edge of his box and Oastler’s through-ball at the other end needed a bit more pitch in the length if Maloney was to have any chance of catching up with it.

Turner found an opening on the left, darting in behind the Beaconsfield defence to latch on to Rendell’s pass to burrow down on goal. But, for once, he couldn’t get the ball under control and he over-ran it to enable Rowley to claim possession bravely at his feet.

Good pressure high up the pitch by a Stags quartet of Ragguette, Rendell, Turner and Oastler penned The Rams back into their own right-back corner. When they regained possession from a Beaconsfield throw, Turner and Oastler linked up to try and release Ragguette down the left flank, but they didn’t see Maloney sneaking into the D on the blindside of the defence, begging for a short infield pass that would have presented him with a clear sight of goal. Ragguette got past his man but his cross-shot didn’t trouble Rowley.

Good movement from Egan helped to carry the fight into the Beaconsfield half, the midfielder winning a throw-in on the right which Read and Kennedy soon converted to a corner, but Rowley caught Maloney’s cross under pressure from several players in gun metal grey.

Samuel Granville, wearing the No.19 shirt for the home side, stung Noice’s palms with a well-struck long-range effort after a quick exchange of passes between Louis and Payne created an opening in a central area. Then, Beaconsfield’s chances of getting back into a game that was already ebbing away from them were dealt a hammer blow when James Dobson, already on a yellow card, hooked Leon Maloney’s ankle to disrupt a Totton counter-attack. The Referee had already given fair warning and didn’t hesitate in producing a second yellow and then the red card to send Dobson down the players’ tunnel for the proverbial early bath. Maloney received treatment before limping off the pitch to be replaced by Luke Bennett, making his AFC Totton following his recent signing. The 22-year-old was playing professional football in Australia as recently as September. Alfie Egan took the free-kick from the right touchline. Hallett got up well to make a clean header but it was straight at Rowley.

Magri made an excellent recovery tackle on the left corner of the Totton box to prevent Akers getting in on goal from the flank. Then, The Stags successfully defended a free-kick from the opposite touchline, Turner clearing before Beaconsfield came forward again to attempt two long-range shots that were both charged down by the resolute Totton defence, and Ragguette headed clear from a cross deep on the left. Totton got the ball under control in midfield, Oastler’s forward pass finding the feet of Luke Bennett in the middle of Beaconsfield’s half. With Turner making a run on the blindside of the right-back, Bennett stroked a delicious defence-splitting pass for which Joe TURNER barely had to break stride to send a first-time left-footed shot across Rowley and into the bottom-right of the goal.

Having scored with his right foot and his left, Turner was just one headed goal away from the perfect hat-trick. But he was denied the opportunity to add yet more goals to his impressive Totton tally when Jimmy Ball decided to send on Jordan Chiedozie in his place, and Chiedozie made an instant contribution by supplying a cross from which Oastler’s header as deflected wide for a corner on the left. Bennett took it and Magri met the ball with a firm diving header that Rowley showed quick reflexes to parry on his goal line, before one of his defenders hacked the ball clear. Read regained possession on the right and fed the ball back to Bennett, now positioned to the left of the D, who side-stepped a challenge and let fly with a right-footed shot that Rowley again reacted well to push wide for another corner. Bennett took it once more; this time Rowley was caught out by the ball looping over him but as it dropped just beyond the far post, Hallett stabbed wide.

Joshua Payne took possession in an advanced position for Beaconsfield but quickly found himself surrounded by a swarm of gun metal grey shirts, Tyro football-style. Then, Adam Tomasso was sent on in place of Alfie Egan, as Jimmy Ball looked to capitalise on his team’s numerical advantage and two-goal lead to shore up the midfield and bubble-wrap the three points. The Totton Terrier’s introduction prompted more energetic pressing from the reinforced Totton midfield, with Oastler, Kennedy and Tomasso setting about their opponents to force an already demoralised and depleted Beaconsfield to wade through treacle. When The Rams tried to lob high balls into Totton’s defensive third, they found Sam Magri in imperious form, and by the time the board went up to indicate four minutes of stoppage time at the end of the game, The Stags were in complete control of proceedings.

A sustained period of Totton passing eventually led to Kennedy playing Bennett into the inside-left channel; he briefly had the better of his marker but he stumbled and the ball ran through for Rowley to collect. Then, as Totton moved the ball from right to left, Rendell’s short flick found Bennett who released Ragguette on the overlap. The left-back arrowed in on goal but fired his shot over the top at the near post.

The Stags had one final chance to extend their lead from a right-wing corner. Bennett’s cross was headed on by Hallett and dropped beyond the left-hand post for Chiedozie to try an overhead-kick, which flashed across goal and was cleared, before the Referee called time on another convincing away win for Jimmy Ball’s team.

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AFC Totton Fixtures 2023/24

SDFA Southampton Senior Cup | Second Round | Snows Stadium, Totton | Wednesday 29 November 2023 | Kick-Off at 7:45pm | Pruchase tickets online in advance to get a FREE burger or hot dog.

By Ben Rochey-Adams

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