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

Tuesday 19 December 2023 | Snows Stadium, Totton | Att: 1,147


AFC TOTTON                                     2
Leon Maloney 3mins; Scott Rendell 60mins

Oluwasanmi Odelusi 49mins

AFC TOTTON LIFTED THEMSELVES back into the Southern League Premier Division South’s Promotion Play-Off spots with a timely 2-1 home win over Hayes & Yeading United at the Snows Stadium on Tuesday night, courtesy of an impudent third-minute opener from Leon Maloney and Scott Rendell’s 20th goal of the season in all competitions.

Jimmy Ball made only one change to the starting line-up that drew with Winchester City at the weekend. Benny Read came back in at right-back and Alfie Egan dropped to the bench, with Adam Tomasso returning to the midfield. Ethan Taylor was included 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
8.  Adam TOMASSO
17.  Leon MALONEY
18.  Joseph TURNER
9.  Scott RENDELL (Capt.)
19.  Reece GRANT
5.  Charlie KENNEDY
10.  Ethan TAYLOR
14.  Alfie EGAN
16.  Alfie STANLEY
20.  Luke BENNETT

AFC Totton’s U10s provided a Guard of Honour, as the two sides made their way on to the pitch. Totton wore their usual home kit of all-blue with white trim, while their opponents were dressed in all-red. The Stags kicked-off, attacking towards the Calmore Industrial Estate and they won themselves an early corner, from which Leon Maloney’s cross landed on the top of the Hayes net for a goal-kick.

Hayes had the first effort at goal when, spotting Lewis Noice standing off his line, Roger James went for a long-range shot that flew narrowly wide of the top-left corner. Noice took the goal-kick quickly, rolling the ball short to Sam Magri, who squared to Luke Hallett standing on the right of the Totton six-yard box. Hallett took a touch and then launched a long ball into the Hayes & Yeading half, straight down the right wing. Hayes left-back Marvel Ekpiteta misjudged the flight of the ball, allowing Leon Maloney to race on to it as Sanmi Odelusi and the rest of the Hayes defenders sprinted back to try and block his progress. Cutting in from the right of the box, Leon MALONEY brought the ball under control to wrong-foot Odelusi and before the next covering defender could close him down, he poked the ball with the outside of his right foot between goalkeeper Jacob Adams and his near post to give AFC Totton a welcome early lead. While The Stags celebrated, Hayes’ former Aldershot Town manager Mark Molesley remonstrated with his team from the sidelines for their poor defending.

004 Totton Benny Read clearing a Hayes corner during the AFC Totton vs Hayes & Yeading Southern Premier Match on 19-12-2023 .jpg
HEADING OUT: AFC Totton full-back Benny Read gets his head in to clear for The Stags in the home win over Hayes & Yeading United.

Scott Rendell, Benny Read and Maloney combined to get the ball into a crossable position from the right-hand side. The delivery went long, so Reece Grant retrieved it, teeing up Jordan Ragguette to cross towards the near post where Joe Turner’s attempt was quashed. It came back to Ragguette and his whipped cross was a fraction too high for Rendell.

Right-back Cole Brown beat Grant to a loose ball at the half-way line, only to find Joe Oastler blocking his path. Oastler’s clearance found Rendell on the edge of the area, who squared to Turner but the former Tonbridge Angel was crowded out before he could squeeze in a shot.

A headed interception by Hallett prevent Ben Heath getting in behind the Totton defence. Maloney received the ball and hit a cross-field pass to Rendell on the left of the Hayes penalty area. The experienced centre-forward brought the ball down and passed square into the D for Adam Tomasso, who struck a first time shot under pressure that skewed just wide of the right-hand post.

Totton were energetically pressing their opponents back into their own half, making it difficult for them to settle on the ball. Brown tired to break forward but the pass out of defence was too strong. Then, Magri fed Ragguette on Totton’s left flank, who threaded his pass into the run of Turner. He ran at the defender but knocked the ball out of play before he could turn in towards goal.

The alert Maloney pounced on a loose ball in the centre-circle and then danced his way through tow Hayes players before linking up with Read, but the return pass from the Totton right-back was over-hit. Hallett then did well to arrest Heath’s attacking ambitions, again.

Rendell drew a foul about 35 yards out, left of centre, while competing for a high ball in the 21st minute. Maloney’s cross went to the far side, where Oastler nodded down to the near post. Rendell got to the ball before his marker but poked his shot narrowly wide.

008 Totton Joseph Oastler during the AFC Totton vs Hayes & Yeading Southern Premier Match on 19-12-2023 .jpg
MAN OF THE MATCH: A combative display in midfield from Joe Oastler helped AFC Totton on their way to all three points at the Snows Stadium.

Totton continued to press. Rendell forced an error from Adams, rushing the visiting ‘keeper as he received a back-pass, which he kicked out of play on the far side. Then, Odelusi did well to stand up to Rendell and Turner both setting upon him inside the Hayes half, wriggling free to retain possession for his side.

Oastler picked out Grant in space on the left corner of the Hayes area. Grant’s first touch took him inside and across his marker, but it ran away from him and Adams was able to scoop the ball up. Then, Turner, Read and Maloney probed down the right and won a corner. Maloney’s cross was flicked on by Hallett. Hayes needed three attempts to clear it but Totton were unable to craft a shooting chance.

Oastler found himself in unfamiliar territory, leading a one-man raid down the left wing. Brown grafted to get back and recovered possession, but only until Oastler performed an immaculate sliding tackle to put the ball out of play.

Joe Turner was penalised for grabbing the ball with his hand when he felt he had been fouled in the centre-circle. The Stags dealt with the resulting free-kick, and the match entered a lull whereby both sides triggered multiple offside flags and saw other promising attacks fall foul of over-hit passes at crucial moments.

Odelusi rode a tackle from Rendell and crossed the half-way line. With Totton backing off, the midfielder continued his advance and tried a right-footed piledriver that swerved wide of the left-hand post. When The Stags went back up the other end from Magri’s defensive header, Grant won an aerial battle and then picked up the second ball himself to attack from the left of the penalty area. He went down under the challenge of former Southampton Academy player Omar Rowe, but the Referee waved away any claims for a penalty.

Turner got his foot in to win the ball back for Totton, deep inside their own half, then passed square to Ragguette on the left. The full-back surged away from his marker to drive forward, before slipping the ball wide to Grant. Turner came sprinting forward to join the attack, received the ball and laid it off to the centre for Maloney, whose shot was blocked. It came back to Grant on the left, and his cross narrowly evaded Rendell in the middle.

Good defending by Read in the opposition half prevented Hayes launching a counter-attack. Then, Magri used his considerable physique to deflect Ronan Silva’s snapshot from the edge of the box wide for a corner on the visitors’ right. Ragguette headed the delivery away at the near post. Hayes regained possession and tried to penetrate down the left-wing, but Read blocked the cross and Oastler was able to clear. Maloney kept the ball in play at the right-wing touchline and passed inside to Rendell, who spotted the run of Turner and tried to tee him up; Turner attempted a volley but couldn’t get a clean connection and Hayes got the ball away.

AFC TOTTON                                            1

Hayes & Yeading made two changes at the start of the second half. Ben Heath, who’d got short change out of Luke Hallett in the first half, came off to be replaced by Samuel Faniyan, while Roger James made way for Michael Elias-Fernandes.

Scott Rendell was booked early in the second half for a tug in the centre-circle. Read then had to concede a corner to nip a promising one-two between Odelusi and Rowe in the bud. The ball came across the box, where Tomasso made a flying headed clearance for another corner. This time, the taker raised his hand to indicate to his teammates to try a practiced set-piece routine. The ball was clipped to the edge of the area where Oluwasanmi ODELUSI brought it down on his chest and drove a left-footed cross through a crowd of bodies and into the bottom-right corner to level the scores.

Ragguette burst down the left for Totton, looking to get the home side back in front as quickly as possible. His cross fell to Turner on the edge of the box, who struck a defender with his effort. Then from a long kick by Jacob Adams, Faniyan and Silva conducted an attack down the left for Hayes, until Hallett came across to nick the ball away and hack clear.

Jordan Ragguette then had his name taken by the Referee, after being isolated at his station at left-back by two Hayes players. The free-kick was turned behind for a corner at the near post, from which the cross was hung high to the far post where Jerry Wiltshire headed wide.

Ethan Taylor stepped off the bench to replace Reece Grant for Totton in the 58th minute, and it didn’t take long for the winger to make a significant impact upon the game. Turner tried to burrow his way into the Hayes box from the right, but a heavy touch allowed a defender to clear. The ball fell to Hallett at the half-way line, who answered Tomasso’s demand for a pass by finding the midfielder in the centre-circle. Facing the SFS Main Stand, Tomasso controlled with his right foot and turned to play a left-footed pass into the path of Ragguette, who was already motoring into the Hayes half. His first-time pass picked out Ethan Taylor on the left-wing touchline who, despite being tracked by Brown, was able to take a touch and bend a low cross to the near corner of the six-yard box where Scott RENDELL got ahead of his marker to divert the ball into the top-right corner, sending The Stags back in front with his 20th goal of the season.

025 Totton Scott Rendell (C) celebrates scoring 2-1during the AFC Totton vs Hayes & Yeading Southern Premier Match on 19-12-2023 .jpg
PICK THAT ONE OUT: Scott Rendell wheels away in celebration after striking his 20th goal of the 2023/24 campaign in all competitions.

Hayes won a free-kick about 15 yards into the Totton half on their right, which had to be delayed while the Referee sorted out some argy bargy between players jostling for position along the edge of the home side’s box. Totton defended the ball into their territory and when Read tried to scamper away on the counter-attack, Omar Rowe pulled him back and earned a himself a yellow card. Maloney clipped the ball to the left of the penalty spot, where Rendell chested down and fired over the bar.

Read and Maloney worked the ball forward down the right wing, culminating in Maloney going down in the penalty area; the Referee was unperturbed. Then, Sam Magri was booked for a sliding tackle foul just outside the left side of the Totton box. Luke Gambin bent the free-kick towards the top far corner, which Noice caught.

The flurry of yellow cards continued, with Paul Field being cautioned for a foul on Joe Turner. Maloney’s high ball into the Hayes box found Rendell, who exchanged passes with Read before Turner had a shot charged down, then Read’s follow-up was diverted wide for a corner. Taylor played a quick one-two with Read, then bent an in-swinging cross towards the far post, but it was too high for Rendell and drifted wide.

Oastler went across to the left to help Taylor create a channel for Ragguette to run into, the marauding left-back squaring to Rendell who tried to do likewise for Read, chugging into gear on the right. Hayes intercepted and Tomasso scampered back to execute a well-timed sliding tackle, hurting himself in the process but drawing appreciative applause from the Totton fans around the ground.

032 Totton Ethan Taylor on the ball during the AFC Totton vs Hayes & Yeading Southern Premier Match on 19-12-2023 .jpg
SUDDEN IMPACT: Two minutes after coming on as substitute, Ethan Taylor provided the cross for AFC Totton's winning goal against Hayes & Yeading United.

Sanmi Odelusi was an influential presence for Hayes, operating in the defensive midfield anchor role corresponding to his No.4 shirt. Having given several instructions to players throughout the game to close Odelusi down, he would have been pleased to see a tag team of Oastler and Rendell nick the ball away from him and try to play Read in down the right, but United defended their lines.

Maloney shrugged off Silva’s challenge to spread the play to the left for Ragguette, who advanced the ball to Taylor further up the wing with players to aim for in the middle. However, the substitute ballooned his cross over the frame of the goal.

Oastler continued to play the role of protector in Totton’s defensive midfield berth, making a strong tackle deep inside his own half to stop another Hayes attacking from developing. But he couldn’t prevent a flowing move down the right-hand side from which substitute Michael Elias-Fernandes somehow hooked the ball over the crossbar from close range after the cross had by-passed Noice and left the attacker unmarked.

With about 10 minutes to go, Charlie Kennedy came on to add more defensive solidity to the home side, with Turner coming off. More determined defending from Hallett kept the back door shut, and Oastler was again in strongly to engage the opposition in close quarters combat.

Faniyan managed to advance into the left side of Totton’s box, where he tried to wrong-foot Hallett by twisting and turning on the ball. The former Forest Green Rovers defender stuck to his task well to block the cross and then successfully tussled for the rebound, using his superior strength to ease Faniyan off the ball and complete the clearance.

Tomasso was given a final warning by the Referee after making a block tackle on Cole Brown, for which he arrived a fraction too late and caught the Hayes & Yeading full-back. With his combative midfielder having already been booked, that was Jimmy Ball’s queue to haul him off and send on Alfie Egan, with instructions to use his fresh legs to press the opposition, shortly before the board went up to indicate five minutes of stoppage time. From the free-kick, the ball was pumped long and Elias-Fernandes knocked down to Amos Nasha, whose right-footed shot was straight at Noice.

Maloney hooked the ball over his own head to find Rendell, whose forward pass to Egan was cut-out. Maloney got to the loose ball about 22 yards out, only to be brought down by Jerry Wiltshire, who was booked for his trouble. Ethan Taylor lined up the free-kick and curled a vicious effort a fraction wide of the top-right corner of the Hayes & Yeading goal.

Totton continued to search for a third goal to kill the game off, but Rendell’s cross was smothered after Maloney had fed him on the right wing. Hayes tried to break down their right, but the delivery into the box was poor.

Egan’s willingness to run and press the tiring Hayes defenders helped to unsettled their rhythm, until he was penalised for a push. But no sooner was the ball hoisted high and long into Totton’s half of the pitch than the Referee blew the final whistle.

Jimmy Ball-1_AFC Totton vs Plymouth Parkway_FATr3Q_Sat07Oct2023.jpg

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

“I thought that was a good game. The tempo was much higher than we’ve seen in the early stages of recent matches, we got on the front foot and were much more aggressive in our attacking play. Right from the first whistle. The lads were up for it. We didn’t do anything different in our preparations before the game but the mentality of the players was right, tonight. They went for it full tilt - it’s something we need to do more often. We stretched them and opened up some spaces for us to play in.

“Goals change games, and us scoring first meant they had to come out and play. Hayes & Yeading are a very good side. They were positive and came to have a real go at us. Their goal was one of those that seemed to go through about four bodies on its way in, but that sort of thing happens in football. We didn’t let it phase us and we reacted well. It takes a squad to win a football match - we don’t really talk about substitutes anymore, we talk about starters and finishers - and I’m very lucky to have such a talented group to work with whose qualities give me certain bullets to fire when I need them.

“Joe Oastler is immense. He’s a winner and he played like it, today. Adam Tomasso was also very good, the back four was fantastic - honestly, I couldn’t really pick out any one player above the rest, they were all very good. Leon Maloney, when he’s in that kind of form - good luck! It could have been a horrible cold night, it’s been raining all day today, but the pitch held up well and both teams tried to play football and win the game, and I’m sure the fans enjoyed it.”

Latest Southern League Premier Division South table

AFC Totton Fixtures 2023/24

Southern League Premier Division South | Matchday#19 | Reynolds Field, Perivale Lane, Greenford UB6 8TL | Saturday 23 December 2023 | Kick-Off at 3:00pm | Minibus tickets available - book today!

By Ben Rochey-Adams

Images courtesy of Les Chase Photography

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