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

Tuesday 19 March 2024 | Snows Stadium, Totton, Southampton | Att: 1,069


AFC TOTTON                                          2
Tony Lee 49mins; Scott Rendell 85mins (pen)

PLYMOUTH PARKWAY                   0

AFC TOTTON BOUNCED BACK from defeat at the weekend to overcome Plymouth Parkway by two goals without reply, in last night’s (Tuesday 19 March 2024) Southern League Premier Division South clash at the Snows Stadium. Having bossed possession but created few goalscoring opportunities in the first half, The Stags took control after the break with both strikers - Tony Lee and captain Scott Rendell - getting on the scoresheet.

Joshua Gould, who is still returning to full fitness after a spell out of the game following his departure from Salisbury, was left out of the matchday squad, with on-loan Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper Tommy Reid coming in for his eighth AFC Totton appearance. Lewis Noice was named among the substitutes. Benny Read was carrying a knock from Saturday’s Chesham United game, so he was dropped to the bench with Luke Bennett coming in at right-back. Sam Magri was also rested, so Joe Oastler partnered Luke Hallett in central defence while Charlie Kennedy continued in the holding midfield role. Leon Maloney returned to the starting line-up following his recovery from the injury sustained at Didcot Town, just over a fortnight ago.

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

13.  Tommy REID
16.  Luke BENNETT
6.  Luke HALLETT
7.  Jospeh OASTLER
14.  Ben JEFFORD
5.  Charlie KENNEDY
17.  Leon MALONEY
10.  Ethan TAYLOR
9.  Scott RENDELL (Capt.)
18.  Tony LEE
1.  Lewis NOICE
2.  Benny READ
4.  Owen PELHAM
8.  Adam TOMASSO
11.  Matty BURROWS

Totton kicked-off, attacking towards the Aldi construction site while wearing their usual home kit of all-blue with white trim. Plymouth Parkway, who usually wear yellow, were in their changed kit of all-white with black trim. The visitors came into this game off the back of a poor run of four consecutive league defeats and only one win from their last six outings, Parkway’s progress being hindered by recent heavy rainfall in the West Country and its effect on their home pitch at Bolitho Park.

Tony Lee almost scored within the first 30 seconds, running on to Charlie Kennedy’s forward pass to slide at the byline and fire the ball into the side-netting. Then, Luke Bennett raided forward down the right flank and whipped in a low cross that was turned away at the near post.

Plymouth’s first meaningful attack came down their left wing, with Jack Crago exploiting space alongside the penalty area to feed the ball into the centre, but his delivery was too strong for his team-mate Callum Hall arriving late into the box. Totton made three attempts to clear their lines before left-back and captain Ryan Lane looped a speculative effort high over the crossbar from distance.

A long-kick from visiting goalkeeper Adam Parkes and a subsequent knock-on by Reece Thomson had Tommy Reid rushing out to claim the ball at the edge of his area. Parkes was then required to do likewise to intercept Leon Maloney’s searching pass, after a foul on Scott Rendell by the AFC Totton dug-out handed possession to the home team.

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BACK IN ACTION: Leon Maloney returned from injury to start for AFC Totton against Plymouth Parkway in the Southern League Premier Division South match at the Snows Stadium.

Maloney and Bennett were seeing plenty of the ball on the Totton right but with their path down the wing often blocked by white shirts, they were content to move the ball amongst themselves and across the Totton back four to bide their time in search of a suitable opening. When they did try to clip passes forward they were often over-hit, with the slick surface under a persistent light rain doing little to hold the ball up for Rendell and Lee to control. Parkway were also struggling to make their killer passes connect, with their longer, more direct attempts veering away from intended targets.

Luke Hallett was caught out by a high ball dropping just behind him with Crago lurking with intent, ready to race at goal. But Reid was alert to the danger and came out to clear, with some Parkway players claiming that Hallett had pulled back their No.11. Then, Lane picked out the run of Hall towards the left edge of Totton’s box. Hallett stepped across to win the ball and tried to lay it back to Reid, only for Crago to nip in ahead of the goalkeeper at the left-wing byline and shoot into the side-netting from a tight angle.

Lane did well to clear under pressure from Lee, after Rendell had flicked on Jefford’s cross from deep on the Totton left. Then, Hallett’s long diagonal pass from just inside his own half enable Rendell to knock down to Ethan Taylor, whose first touch kept the ball away from Callum Rose before his shot was charged down at the edge of the area, likewise Rendell’s follow-up effort as the visitors cleared.

Maloney briefly threatened when he managed to keep Bennett’s pass within bounds at the right-wing byline, but his chipped cross arced out of play at the near post. When Maloney tried to return the compliment to get Bennett in down the same side, Lane stepped in to intercept and get the ball forward for Parkway.

Callum Hall’s willingness to run off the ball was posing problems for the Totton defence. Maloney’s solution of shoving the energetic midfielder to the ground irked the Referee sufficiently to earn Plymouth a free-kick just outside and to the left of the penalty area, close to the byline - like a short corner in hockey. The six-foot plus figure of Thomson positioned himself close to Reid, while four Parkway players clustered around the penalty spot. Hallett headed the cross away as far as Lane, whose cross to the far post was headed on target by Rose but caught by Reid.

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OVER THERE: Skipper Scott Rendell points the way for The Stags.

Parkes managed to sort his feet out just in time to clear from the left edge of his penalty area before the in-rushing Maloney could nick the ball off his toes. Bennett then found himself pressed into emergency central defensive duties to stop a Plymouth attack in its tracks, just as the visitors were developing an overload by getting numbers forward down their left wing. Totton’s attempt to counter-attack were scuppered when Joan Luque ran into an opponent in the centre-circle, with Rendell having peeled away into space on the right.

The Parkway No.10 Rio Garside spread the play to roving right-back Shane White, whose pass was controlled by Thomson, the forward shifting the ball on to his right foot to try an angled shot that Jefford’s sliding block diverted wide for a corner. The permanently airborne Hallett was there again to head clear, Garside meeting the ball with a half-volley back into the ruck of players in a crowded penalty area. Totton again tried to break away on the counter, but Taylor was dispossessed by a strong tackle that left him needing treatment in the middle of the pitch.

Totton fashioned their best chance of the first half when Rendell took up a position on the left-wing touchline, midway inside Plymouth’s half, and hooked the ball down the wing for the marauding Jefford to whip into the box. Luque couldn’t reach it initially but the ball came back to him as Parkway struggled to clear their lines, allowing Luque to shake off his marker to the right of the D and aim a left-footed curler towards the top-left corner, bringing an impressive save from Parkes to push the ball out for a corner, which the goalkeeper then punched clear amid a group of players in his six-yard box.

Kennedy got back to halt Plymouth’s progress with a right-wing attack. Then, Jefford clipped the ball into the inside-left channel, where Taylor spotted the goalkeeper off his line and went for a first-time lob, which looped over the stranded Parkes and dropped narrowly wide of the near post.

Tom Purrington picked up a loose ball midway inside his own half from Rendell’s headed knockdown and set off on a run down the middle of the pitch, exchanging passes with a teammate to advance into the penalty area, where he then took the soft option of flopping to the turf. The Referee was unmoved and Totton took the ball away. Purrington escaped any disciplinary punishment but the same could not be said for Callum Hall, whose name was taken for a foul on Luque near the centre-circle. The Spaniard took the free-kick, sending a high diagonal towards Rendell near the left corner of the Parkway penalty area. The centre-forward headed to Jefford at the touchline, who rolled the ball back for Taylor to attempt an ambitious lob that flew over the goal and beyond the far post.

AFC TOTTON                                  0

There were no changes to either side during the break. Plymouth got the second half underway, immediately launching an aerial assault down the left side of Totton’s defence. Crago jumped higher than Jefford to win the initial challenge, but The Stags’ left-back recovered to win the ground battle.

Luque’s square pass from the middle of Parkway’s half brought Bennett forward from his right-back berth to play Maloney in at the corner of the penalty area, with one man to beat to get through on goal. He tried to check inside his man but defender Toby Down made a well-timed challenge, poking the ball away before the former Portsmouth and FC Volendam man could pull the trigger.

Totton found the breakthrough just four minutes into the second half. Jefford played it forward for Luque to bring under control on the left wing, before shimmying his way between two Parkway defenders and presenting the ball to the left foot of Tony LEE to strike across Parkes into the bottom right of the Plymouth goal, taking his tally to five goals since his recent return to the Snows Stadium.

Rendell was surprised not to be awarded a free-kick for a shove in the back at half-way, Oastler remedying the situation with a robust challenge on Crago close to the Plymouth right-wing touchline that left the forward rolling around on the turf until he realised the Referee wasn’t watching. Maloney then diverted Lane’s left-wing cross behind for a corner; Oastler’s headed clearance went awry but Rose couldn’t take advantage, steering his own header over the bar having done well to climb highest amongst a cluster of players at the far post.

AFC Totton vs Plymouth Parkway-10_SLPDS-32_Tue19Mar2024.jpg
PENALTY!: Matty Burrows (left) watches on, hands on hips, as the Referee points to the penalty spot during The Stags' home win over Plymouth Parkway.

Taylor struck a high cross-field pass to the right-hand side, where Maloney was able to advance via a one-two with Rendell. He had to stretch to keep the ball in play at the right-wing byline, trying to direct the ball across the Plymouth goal before Parkes intervened with an interception.

Parkway were coming out of their defensive shell to try and find a way back into the game, leaving space in behind them that Totton’s early attempts to exploit fell foul of the offside flag. Bennett and Oastler both cut-out crosses from the visitors as Totton successfully held Parkway at arm’s length. Then, The Stags came within a whisker of extending their lead with a moment of impudent skill from Joan Luque. Rendell guided Hallett’s high diagonal to Luque on the left-wing touchline, and El Matador’s silky footwork took him between Garside and Oscar Halls before he looked up and sent a high curling shot a fraction wide of the right-hand post, bringing appreciative applause from around the ground.

Just past the hour mark, Jimmy Ball withdrew Leon Maloney and sent on winger Matty Burrows. Crago threatened Totton’s goal from the left of the six-yard box, until Oastler knocked the ball out for a corner, which Reid punched away from his near post. The ball fell invitingly for Rose to strike from outside the area, Taylor bravely throwing himself in the way to divert wide for a corner on the Plymouth right. Reid punched clear, again, and this time Burrows collected within his own box and set off on a sprint that left two defenders for dead as he raced up Totton’s right wing and towards the Parkway box, before eventually running into a covering defender.

Jack Crago was shown the yellow card for a foul on Charlie Kennedy near the centre-circle. Luque and Taylor conducted an attack down Totton’s left wing, before the latter’s cross was headed away from the penalty spot. Taylor scampered back to kill off any thoughts of a Parkway counter-attack with a well-timed sliding tackle.

Luque was booked for dissent. Tony Lee put in a defensive shift, clearing twice in quick succession to ensure Totton defended the Parkway free-kick. The visitors managed to create an opening with Crago attacking the left-wing byline and pulling back for Hall, whose low shot was saved by Reid at his near post.

Adam Tomasso came off the bench to replace Tony Lee, with 20 minutes to go. Then, Luke Bennett was fortunate to remain on the pitch after a late, high challenge on the touchline along the Salisbury Road side of the ground, that sparked a swift exchange of handbags from several players. Charlie Kennedy sensibly grabbed Bennett and marched him away from the scuffles to ensure the former AFC Bournemouth Academy player would only receive a yellow card. Callum Rose also had his name taken for his reaction.

Crago stole in behind Jefford on the Plymouth right wing. Oastler closed him down by Crago still managed to get his shot away, forcing Reid to parry wide. The corner was delivered to the far side and headed into the advertising hoarding beyond the post by a Parkway player.

Rendell put in a strong tackle near the centre-circle, allowing Taylor to pick up the loose ball and stride forward down the middle. His short lay off gave the ball to Luque, who played a return pass to put Taylor in to the left of the penalty spot, his low shot being well-saved by Parkes, who deflected the ball wide with his left leg. Hallett and Oastler both attacked Taylor’s near post delivery from the corner, but Parkway volleyed clear.

A high cross from the Parkway right had Reid punching the ball away, once again. It fell to Rio Garside, who dragged his shot wide of the left-hand post. Then, as the game entered its last 10 minutes, Lane made a crucial interception to prevent Rendell’s through ball releasing Burrows for a clear run on goal.

Tomasso spotted Parkes off his line and took his chances with a long-range lob that flew over the bar, shortly before Joan Luque was taken off to be replaced by young midfielder Owen Pelham, making his first ever appearance in the Southern League Premier Division South.

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GOAL!: Scott Rendell steps up to convert his 26th goal of the 2023/24 campaign.

Hallett leapt well to firmly head away a searching forward ball out of the Parkway defence. And when Totton got forward down their right, Burrows - who had been a thorn in Parkway’s side since stepping on to the pitch - tricked his way into the penalty area and drew Ryan Lane into making a tackle that resulted in a trip on the livewire winger, prompting the Referee to point to the penalty spot. Scott RENDELL made no mistake with a composed finish to all but wrap up the three points with his 26th goal of the season, with five minutes left on the clock.

Plymouth began to push more players forward, no doubt aware of the numerous occasions in which teams throughout the division have conceded two late goals in this topsy-turvy season. It resulted, however, in Totton being able to sit deeper and look to spring Burrows and Taylor into open space in the opposition’s half. Parkes reacted quickly to snatch the ball away from Burrows, as he tried to dart on to Bennett’s pass down the right. Then, Pelham hooked the ball out of defence to Rendell at half-way, who was pulled down by Halls. Tommy Reid took his time over the free-kick, and was duly shown a yellow card for time-wasting.

Rendell had the ball in the Parkway net again, when he got in behind the defence to lift Tomasso’s clearance over Parkes, but the Assistant Referee on the far side flagged him as offside.

During four minutes of stoppage time, Totton had fallen back into their own half, content to soak up pressure from Plymouth. Rendell received the ball in the centre-circle and, with the left-back out of position, sent Matty Burrows clear on the right. The winger had the freedom of Hampshire to advance to the edge of the penalty area and pick his spot, comfortably beating Parkes with a low finish that smacked back off the foot of the right-hand post.

A miss-kick on Plymouth’s next attack allowed Kennedy and then Jefford to clear Totton’s lines. Rendell collected the ball once again, and from his forward pass to inside-left, which brought Parkes rushing out of his goal, Taylor got to the ball first, taking it wide and trying to finish from a tight angle outside the box. The ball ran across the face of goal with Burrows coming in at the far post, but the winger appeared to be in two minds as to whether to leave it or apply the finishing touch, and it squirmed out of reach beyond the right-hand post.

Rio Garside attempted a late snapshot when he got a clear sight of goal from outside the Totton box, which Tommy Reid was happy to observe curling away from his near post, shortly before the Referee called time on a home win for The Stags.

Watch Jimmy Ball's Post-Match Interview

Watch Matty Burrows' Post-Match Interview

Watch Captain Scott Rendell's Post-Match Interview

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AFC Totton Fixtures 2023/24

Southern League Premier Division South | Matchday#34 | Snows Stadium, Salisbury Road, Totton, Southampton SO40 2RW | Saturday 23 March 2024 | Kick-Off at 3:00pm

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By Ben Rochey-Adams

Images courtesy of Matthew Cook

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