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Saturday 18 November 2023 | Snows Stadium, Totton | Att: 689


AFC TOTTON                                        2
Jordan Chiedozie 3mins; Joe Turner 68mins

Ryan Seager 23mins

AFC TOTTON ENACTED REVENGE for last season’s FA Cup defeat to Havant & Waterlooville by knocking The Hawks out of the 2023/24 Isuzu FA Trophy in the Second Round tie at the Snows Stadium on Saturday (18 November 2023).

Jordan Chiedozie got The Stags off to a stellar start with a well-taken finish in the third minute. Former Southampton Academy striker Ryan Seager took advantage of a defensive mix-up to level for the visitors midway through the first half, but Joe Turner pounced on a rebound to maintain his record of scoring every time he pulls on an AFC Totton shirt with his fourth goal since joining the club just over a week ago.

Sam Magri, Joe Oastler, and captain Scott Rendell were all recalled to the starting line-up, with teenaged midfielders Owen Pelham and Ashton Pickles dropping out of the matchday squad that beat East Cowes Vics 7-0 in the Hampshire Senior Cup in midweek, while Alfie Stanley was named among the substitutes, together with three new signings in Luke Bennett, winger Egli Kaja and a returning former Stag, Luke Roberts.

AFC-Totton-badge.pngAFC TOTTON
Starting XI

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

Totton, who beat Plymouth Parkway in Third Round Qualifying and Merthyr Town in the First Round of this season’s competition, took to the pitch wearing their all-white cup kit, while Havant & Waterlooville wore yellow shirts, blue shorts and yellow socks in shades reminiscent of Sweden’s national team. The visitors kicked-off, attacking the end where the current construction site will imminently give way to a new Aldi store.

Scott Rendell had a brief glimpse of goal early on, but Yoan Zouma - the younger brother of West Ham United defender Kurt Zouma - smashed clear, almost putting Ryan Seager in until Sam Magri intervened to shepherd the ball back to Lewis Noice. The Stags ‘keeper played the ball forward into midfield where Charlie Kennedy laid it back for Joe Oastler to thread a through-ball into the inside-right channel. Jordan CHIEDOZIE left Zouma in his wake while also beating the offside trap, and fired past Havant & Waterlooville’s goalkeeping captain Ross Warner to give the home side an excellent start to the cup-tie. The goal was Chiedozie’s third since signing for the club.

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FAST OUT THE BLOCKS: Striker Jordan Chiedozie got AFC Totton off to a flying start with a third minute goal against Havant & Waterlooville in the Isuzu FA Trophy tie at the Snows Stadium.

Havant tried to hit back and won a free-kick on their right for a foul by Leon Maloney. Magri dealt with the initial delivery and when a half-chance presented itself at the edge of the area, Luke Hallett smothered the shot at source with the rebound being shot wide for a goal-kick.

Rendell positioned himself under the flight path of a long kick by Noice to knock on into the path of Joe Turner, making a diagonal run to inside-right. But for once, Turner’s Midas touch deserted him as he scuffed his right-footed shot tamely to the feet of a grateful Warner. Rendell and Turner linked up again to create another opening shortly after, but this time Zouma reacted well to defend the situation and Magri and Jordan Ragguette both had to press urgently to prevent The Hawks flying down their right wing.

The visitors made their first impression on the Totton penalty area when Billie Busari got to the left-wing byline and crossed to the edge of the six-yard box, where Ragguette repelled it with a diving header. The ball fell to Jack Jebb, whose snapshot deflected off one of his own players and flew wide for a goal-kick.

Maloney’s free-kick delivery from the right picked out Magri on the far side of the penalty spot but the former Malta international’s square header wrong-footed everyone. Maloney regained possession and found Turner on the edge of a crowded box, who fed Ragguette on the left. His cross arrived at the feet of Rendell, who had to twist past his marker and strike left-footed, pulling a fine reaction save out of Warner, diving to his right to push the ball over the bar. The Hawks defended the corner successfully.

There were strong shouts for hand-ball inside the Havant & Waterlooville penalty area, when Turner fed Benny Read on the right-hand side and his clipped pass to Rendell bounced up and struck Busari. The Referee waved play on as Busari brought the ball out of defence.

Totton’s midfield press was proving difficult for the team in yellow-and-blue to break down. Seager managed to get behind The Stags defence to cross from the left-wing byline but Ragguette was on hand to clear the danger for the home side. Then, Havant worked their way into the left corner of the Totton penalty area from where a shot was deflected wide for a corner on their right. Noice comfortably claimed the cross, despite the number of bodies around him.

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DEFENSIVE MODE: Jordan Ragguette clears under pressure from Havant & Waterlooville's ex-Saints Academy striker Ryan Seager.

Despite Totton’s early dominance, Havant & Waterlooville drew level on 23 minutes. Muhammadu Faal stole in behind Magri to latch on to a through-ball from halfway into the inside-right channel. Noice came out and threw himself at Faal’s feet, trying to block the shot, but Faal - who scored the winner at Westleigh Park in last season’s FA Cup tie - lifted the ball over the goalkeeper towards the penalty spot. White shirts poured into the open goalmouth but Ryan SEAGER’S blast struck the outstretched leg of Read and hit the back of the net.

Jordan Chiedozie had an instant chance to restore Totton’s lead when Ragguette’s measured cross from the left arrived at his feet with just the goalkeeper to beat. But the forward couldn’t sort his feet out quickly enough and the ball bounced off him and harmlessly away from the Havant & Waterlooville goal. Then, Chiedozie pushed the ball wide to Turner on the left of the area, whose cross was stabbed away by a retreating defender. Chiedozie was within inches of intercepting on the edge of the area but couldn’t quite reach it.

Neat football between Rendell, Chiedozie, Maloney and Oastler enabled the latter to free Chiedozie down the right flank. He directed a low cross towards Rendell, coming in at the far post, but the full-back Devante Stanley read the situation well and knocked behind for a corner. Havant launched a counter-attack from the corner and when approaching the edge of the Totton box, Busari hit the deck under Hallett’s challenge, but the Referee was not impressed and Totton reclaimed possession.

Turner dropped deep to make an extra man in midfield and pour cold water on a developing Havant attack. Then a neat passage of play by Havant down their right-hand side culminated in Devante Stanley trying his luck from 20 yards with a drive that Noice had to dive to his right to save, grabbing the ball quickly before Seager could gobble up the rebound.

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HALF TON-UP: Benny Read made his 50th AFC Totton appearance against the team he left to join The Stags last November.

Benny Read, making his 50th AFC Totton appearance since joining the club from Havant & Waterlooville around this time last year, won the ball on the Totton right and allowed Turner to take over. Ragguette set off on a run down the left and demanded a pass; Turner duly obliged and Ragguette forced a corner when his cross was deflected wide. Maloney’s cross from the left dipped to land at Magri’s feet, but Warner reacted quicker than the Totton defender to snatch the ball to safety.

A foul by Kennedy on Devante Stanley resulted in a free-kick to Havant, about 23 yards out in a central position. Jack Jebb, wearing the No.17 shirt for Havant & Waterlooville, struck a right-footed effort that Noice tipped onto the crossbar just above the top-right corner. The rebound was headed out but looped close enough for Jebb to have another go, volleying over the top.

The two Jordans combined down the Totton left before Ragguette’s cross was knocked out from the middle. Oastler diverted the loose ball back out to Chiedozie who checked on to his right foot and tried to pick out Maloney at the right-hand post, but his cross was too high.

Ragguette’s cross-field pass for Maloney was headed out for a Totton throw that Read took, three minutes before half-time. Chiedozie received the ball at the right-wing byline and pulled it back, lifting it for Turner to strike on the volley, sending the ball soaring over the crossbar.

Hallett demonstrated calmness under pressure to intercept an incisive pass that threatened to play Faal in behind him on the edge of Totton’s box. Then, a foul close to the Havant left-wing touchline resulted in a free-kick that Noice had to punch away two-fisted. As a follow-up shot came in, the flag went up for offside, to Totton’s relief.

Havant were finishing the first half strongly, and Oastler, one of four former Hawks in the Totton side (not counting injured skipper Mike Carter), made a crucial tackle in midfield to put the kibosh on one attacking foray down the middle.

Read forced a corner up the other end of the pitch. Maloney took it and Chiedozie came short to receive possession between the right edge of the penalty area and the six-yard box. The Havant defence had failed to track his run, leaving him free to turn and chip the ball towards a ruck of players at the near post where Magri got his head to it, diverting the ball narrowly wide.

AFC TOTTON                                              1

Before the second half began, Adam Tomasso came on to replace Jordan Chiedozie as Jimmy Ball looked to regain midfield dominance with the introduction of the Totton Terrier.

An up-and-under clearance by Hallett was neatly brought down by Turner. His pass back to Read, provided support from the right-back position, was under-hit but Read tussled with his opponent to come away with the ball at his feet, playing Turner to the byline and getting into the box to receive a return pass that he met with a fierce drive that was bravely charged down by a defender. The ball deflected into the middle where Rendell took a touch and shot, his effort ricocheting off another defender and flying wide for a corner. Maloney’s cross into the middle found Hallett unmarked, but even Totton’s spring-heeled centre-back couldn’t get above the ball and steered it over the bar.

Tomasso won a header midway inside Havant’s half, knocking the ball down for Turner to feed Read down the right, again. He got to the byline and pulled the ball back across the box but it eluded the white shirts arriving in the middle. The visitors’ James Roberts was booked for simulation just outside the Totton penalty area, then Maloney latched on to Rendell’s knock on as Totton continued to find joy down the right flank. Maloney bent his low cross towards Turner who was arriving at the far post but he couldn’t sort his feet out quickly enough to make a telling contact and the chance escaped.

Lewis Noice-2_AFC Totton vs Havant & Waterlooville_FATr2_Sat18Nov2023.jpg
STRIKE A POSE: AFC Totton goalkeeper Lewis Noice kicks clear at the Snows Stadium.

However, Totton, and Turner in particular, were beginning to assert their authority on proceedings, with the former Tonbridge Angel pulling the strings from his central attacking midfield position. Ragguette and Kennedy combined to progress down the left wing. Kennedy found Rendell with a low cross and the centre-forward’s shot was blocked at close quarters. Then, Oastler won possession back for The Stags in defensive midfield and passed to Read, whose clearance up the line deflected kindly to Maloney. Once again, though, a cross delivered into the box went between the white shirts rather than to any one of them, and Havant were able to clear.

Read did well to head away a cross-field pass with Faal trying to sneak into the wide open space behind him. Then, a foul by Oastler on substitute Harry Jewitt-White gave Jebb the chance to float the ball into the Totton box from left of centre, but his in-swinging cross missed his teammates and dropped wide of the far post.

Ostensibly signed as a central defender, Joe Oastler’s recent performances in the defensive midfielder role have alleviated the difficulties posed for Jimmy Ball by the injury-enforced absence of his captain, Mike Carter, and the former Havant & Waterlooville skipper made another important intervention deep inside his own half of the pitch to spoil his former team’s attacking plans. Yan Zouma was the next player to have his name taken by the Referee, when he took out Scott Rendell’s ankle midway inside the Havant half. Zouma immediately redeemed himself by heading away Maloney’s delivery from the free-kick.

Joe Oastler-1_AFC Totton vs Havant & Waterlooville_FATr2_Sat18Nov2023.jpg
GET STUCK IN: The imperious Joe Oastler stamps his authority on the midfield during the FA Trophy tie against his former club, Havant & Waterlooville.

For the second time in the game, Havant’s No.2 Devante Stanley was called up for a foul throw. Then, Sam Magri took one for the team when Faal beat him to a loose ball close to the AFC Totton dug-out, the big defender opting to concede a free-kick in opposition territory rather than allow the forward to escape in behind him, at the expense of a yellow card.

Roarie Deacon found space to attack down the Havant left. Magri got his head to the cross and although Ragguette scuffed his clearance back into a dangerous area for Totton, his teammates were alive to it and dealt with the threat. Then, Hallett was well-positioned to head clear a cross from the visitors’ right flank with space opening up in the Totton box.

Havant were rallying and a short, sharp passing move created a shooting chance for Seager from just outside the area. The ball deflected off Magri’s thigh and looped kindly into the arms of Lewis Noice. The Totton goalkeeper kicked long towards the right wing. Rendell headed on and Maloney took the ball under control inside the right corner of the penalty area, with a defender in tow. Adam Tomasso darted round in support, receiving Maloney’s lay off and lofting a high ball towards the far post where Charlie Kennedy was lurking. What exactly took place thereafter will forever be a well-guarded secret (until we get the video footage, obviously); the ball bounced, Kennedy appeared to be pulled down, prompting loud appeals for a penalty from the Totton fans behind the goal, but amid the flurry of limbs, Joe TURNER beat Warner to the loose ball to poke it into the bottom-left corner for his fourth goal since becoming an AFC Totton player just over a week ago.

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GET IN, AGAIN: Joe Turner wheels away in delight after poking home his fourth AFC Totton goal since joining the club just 10 days ago.

The restart was delayed while Jake McCarthy received treatment for an injury sustained during that goalmouth scramble. When play resumed, Deacon did exceptionally well to prevent three different Totton players bursting into Havant’s defensive third, The Hawks’ No.20 traversing horizontally across the pitch to foil first Rendell, then Maloney and then Read’s attempts to exploit the space behind the visitors’ back four.

Rendell was getting frustrated with persistent tugging of his shirt while challenging for high balls. But he won a free-kick for exactly that close to the right-wing touchline, from which Maloney crossed the ball on to Magri’s head. He sent the ball upward rather than towards goal, and as it came back down to earth both he and his marker fell. The ball popped loose to Hallett on the left, who turned sharply away from his marker but couldn’t get the ball back across goal on his left foot.

Havant headed wide from a left-wing free-kick. Then, more strong tackling from Oastler in midfield and Noice rushing from his area to kick clear kept The Hawks at bay and Totton ahead.

Tomasso won the ball in midfield and found Rendell, who laid it back for Turner on the left. He tried to cross back to Rendell, now attacking the box, but Zouma intervened with a diving defensive header. Oastler kept the attack going by returning the ball to Rendell’s feet, and he fed the overlapping Read, darting towards the right-wing byline. But again, the pull back somehow snaked between the Totton players in the box and Havant hacked clear.

Ragguette caused havoc in the Havant box with a cross from the left-wing byline, when a deflection off a defender had Warner kicking clear from his own goal line. Then, Magri made an important block on the edge of the Totton area after clever approach play by Havant on their right. Shortly after, Magri launched on a Jaap Stam-style forward drive into Havant territory, but The Hawks organised themselves quickly to lull him into a cul-de-sac before dispossessing him.

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JOKER IN THE PACK: AFC Totton playmaker Leon Maloney goes up against Havant & Waterlooville full-back Devante Stanley.

McCarthy clipped the ball towards the penalty area on the Havant right. Ragguette headed out but subsequent poor passing from Totton allowed Havant to get in again, Oastler having to get stuck in to shut the opportunity down.

Pressure applied by Turner on Zouma forced a Totton throw-in close to the right-wing corner flag. Havant cleared Read’s throw. Trying to prevent a counter-attack, Oastler met the ball on the volley, which he miscued to keep the kitchen staff just behind Mally’s Corner on their toes.

Jordan Ragguette slid along the left-wing touchline to divert the ball forward to Tomasso, who was brought down close to the left-wing corner flag. Maloney’s cross was met at the far post by Magri, wrapping his left leg around his marker to make a firm contact on the volley, pulling a smart save from Warner with his left kneecap. The goalkeeper was called into action again shortly after, when Read raced to the byline and pulled back for Rendell to strike. Warner dived to his right and parried. Turner picked up the loose ball and passed back for Ragguette to lift a cross to the far post, where Kennedy headed narrowly wide. There was appreciative applause from the 689-strong crowd, the majority of whom were sensing their team was coming close to putting the cup tie to bed.

Totton disrupted a Havant attack and sprung forward on the counter. Maloney’s pass out to the right flank appeared to be too strong but Read scampered to the line just in time to keep the ball in play, prodding it further forward but straight to a Havant defender. Maloney was on him straight away, poking the ball off his toe and advancing into the area at inside-right. As another defender came across to block his path, Maloney dropped his right shoulder and then struck a venomous curling shot, aiming for the thin slither of space just inside the far post. Warner got something on it, pushing the ball wide for a corner. Maloney took it, picking out Magri whose powerful header was on target but cannoned off Rendell, letting Havant & Waterlooville off the hook.

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DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS: Joe Turner looks to release Benny Read on the overlap.

Alfie Stanley came on in place of Leon Maloney, shortly before the board went up to indicate five minutes of stoppage time. Havant were awarded a free-kick on their right. Jebb found a yellow shirt in the Totton box with his cross, but when the ball dropped Rendell belted it away. Read then swept away Jebb’s low left-wing cross at the near post, before an up-and-under had Hallett staring into the skies trying to follow the flight of the ball, with yellow shirts milling about him with nefarious intent. His clearance was unconvincing and Magri was nudged out of the way as he tried to assist, but Seager’s shot was deflected away.

Joe Turner then came off to be replaced by AFC Totton debutant Egli Kaja, a former AFC Wimbledon winger who played in the Scottish Premiership while on loan at Livingstone and has been called up for the Albanian national team on two occasions. Kaja was quickly involved, racing to catch up with Rendell’s knock on at the edge of Havant’s area, but Warner beat him to it.

Tomasso and Kennedy both made important tackles in midfield but Havant still managed to attack Totton’s goal. Jebb crossed from the right but the ball dropped straight into the arms of Noice. But for once, his distribution was wayward and Joe Oastler earned a booking for a foul that gave the visitors one last chance to take aim at the AFC Totton goal from a central position about 25 yards out. The responsibility for keeping Havant & Waterlooville in the Isuzu FA Trophy fell to Jack Jebb, who had earlier struck the crossbar from a similar position at the other end of the pitch. This time, Jebb’s right boot curled his shot high of the crossbar and into the safety netting behind the goal. No sooner did Lewis Noice launch the resulting goal-kick over the centre-circle than the Referee blew the final whistle.

Jimmy Ball_AFC Totton Manager_AFC Totton vs Hamworthy United_Pre-Season-7_Sat29Jul2023.jpg

After the game, AFC Totton Manager Jimmy Ball (pictured; Credit this image: Craig Hobbs Photography) said:

“Getting through to the next round was our target today, against a very good side. It was a game of fine margins but I think, once we had bolstered the midfield, we created more in the second half and were probably unlucky not to score at least one more goal. Their goalkeeper made some good saves and there was one where Sam Magri’s header hit Scott Rendell, when it looked like it was going in. But it was a hard-fought local derby and I’m sure our fans enjoyed watching their team giving their all and coming out on top.

“We’ll find out who we play in the next round on Monday. I don’t care who we get drawn against; we’ll give them the necessary respect and do our research and our due diligence, but its important that we concentrate on ourselves and go into that game with plenty of aggression and the right attitude to adopt that attacking mindset that will enable us to be competitive, and give it a right go.

“I’m competitive and I want to win every game. But ultimately, the league is our main focus. We’ve made a decent start to the season. We know there is room for improvement and we are striving to make those improvements to help us do something in this league, this season. We go to Beaconsfield on Saturday knowing that we can’t allow our levels to drop like we did against Hungerford and Basingstoke, and at Gosport Borough. If we’re off our game, we will get punished. But we have a full week with the players and we’ll make sure we go into that game in as strong and positive mood as possible. Winning is a habit and we have to instil that mentality into the players to ensure we become fierce competitors.

“Beaconsfield is only about 75 minutes away down the M3, so I’d love to see another strong turnout from the Totton fans to come and get behind the team and help us to hopefully claim another valuable away win.”

In Monday’s Isuzu FA Trophy Third Round draw, AFC Totton were drawn away to Isthmian Premier League side Horsham. The tie will take place at their Camping Word Community Stadium on Saturday 09 December 2023.

Latest Southern League Premier Division South table

AFC Totton Fixtures 2023/24

Southern League Premier Division South | Matchday#15 | Holloways Park, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire HP9 2SE | Saturday 25 November 2023 | Kick-Off at 3:00pm

By Ben Rochey-Adams

Images courtesy of Dave Haines Photography

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