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

Isuzu FA Trophy, Third Round Qualifying
Saturday 07 October 2023 | Snows Stadium, Totton | Att: 376


AFC TOTTON                                   2
Sam Magri 13mins; Matty Burrows 73mins

Dylan Jones 90+3mins

AFC TOTTON SECURED SAFE PASSAGE into the First Round Proper of the 2023/24 Isuzu FA Trophy by overcoming Plymouth Parkway at the Snows Stadium in Third Round Qualifying on Saturday (07 October 2023), courtesy of goals from Sam Magri and substitute Matty Burrows.

The visitors halved the deficit deep into stoppage time through substitute striker Dylan Jones, but The Stags stood firm against a last-ditch onslaught to confirm their place in Monday’s draw alongside the clubs from the Vanarama National League, who will now join the competition at the First Round stage.

Jimmy Ball’s starting XI included four recognised centre-backs with Luke Hallett making his first start since recovering from injury to partner Sam Magri and Joe Oastler in a three-man central defence, while the versatile Charlie Kennedy joined AFC Bournemouth U21 loanee Ben Winterburn in midfield. Matty Burrows, who started last weekend’s Emirates FA Cup victory against Berkhamsted, was dropped to the seven-man bench.

AFC-Totton-badge.pngAFC TOTTON
Starting XI

1.  Lewis NOICE
2.  Benny READ
6.  Luke HALLETT
15.  Sam MAGRI
7.  Joseph OASTLER
3.  Jordan RAGGUETTE
5.  Charlie KENNEDY
17.  Leon MALONEY
9.  Scott RENDELL (Capt.)
10.  Ethan TAYLOR
4.  Mike CARTER
8.  Adam TOMASSO
11.  Matty BURROWS
16.  Alfie STANLEY
20.  Harry THOMAS

As has been their habit this season, The Stags wore their all-white changed kit for this cup tie. Parkway wore bright yellows shirts befitting the warm afternoon, with dark navy shorts and socks, and it was the visitors who mustered the first effort on goal, albeit with a miss-hit volley when the ball dropped to the ponytailed figure of Callum Hall on the edge of the Totton penalty area after enterprising work down their right flank by Michael Williams.

The hosts asserted themselves soon after, with Ethan Taylor linking well with Leon Maloney in the middle and then Jordan Ragguette down the left-hand side to win the first corner of the match. The Totton No.10 drove the ball into the box low and a deflection caused momentary confusion in the Parkway defence, but they managed to hook the ball away.

Charlie Kennedy-1_AFC Totton vs Plymouth Parkway_FATr3Q_Sat07Oct2023.jpg
MIDFIELD MAESTRO: Charlie Kennedy played in midfield as Mike Carter continued his return from the injury he picked up on the opening day of the season.

Ben Winterburn exchanged passes with Ragguette, who was operating as a left wing-back, but an over-hit through-ball put a premature end to the move just as it began to look threatening. Then, on the opposite flank, a neat sombrero trick by Benny Read, looping the ball over the Plymouth captain Ryan Lane, opened up a new channel of attack but the ball bounced out of play along the touchline before Read could race into the space he had created.

Luke Hallett, playing on the right of the central defensive three, headed away Lane’s cross-field free-kick from the halfway line. Taylor collected and tried to advance through the middle of the pitch, only to find himself pulled back by Hall who was shown the game’s first yellow card with 13 minutes on the clock, resulting in a Totton free-kick about 15 yards into the Plymouth half, towards the right-hand side. Leon Maloney clipped his delivery towards the inside-left channel where, from a good 15 yards out, the head of Sam MAGRI steered the ball across goalkeeper Adam Parkes and inside the far post to hand The Stags an early lead with the big defender’s second goal since joining the club in the summer.

Totton were soon on the front foot again, with Taylor showing impressive strength under pressure at the touchline to hook the ball over his own right shoulder to send Maloney scampering down the left wing. But the former Portsmouth and FC Volendam man had to check infield to wait for support and, although Totton retained possession, the forward momentum was lost.

Plymouth Parkway tried to get their own passing game going, but too often their midfielders and forwards were not on the same wavelength when it came to playing the crucial pass to unlock the home defence. Totton intercepted one attempt and shifted the ball out to the left for Ragguette. Skipper Scott Rendell dropped deep towards him but audibly implored him to play a longer pass to Taylor, to which the St. Vincentian obliged with a long ball down the wing, before racing into the gap to receive the return pass. As Ragguette darted into the penalty area at inside-left with a defender struggling to keep up, he slipped and the ball ran out of play, leaving The Stags’ No.3 on his knees, beating the lush green turf in frustration.

The Parkway No.10 Rio Garside began to drop deep to get on the ball more often and increase his influence on the game. At one point, he received possession on the right wing and, through a combination of dribbling and one-two passing, made his way over to the left-wing touchline and back into the middle of the pitch. But his good work was undone by a simple misplaced pass by one of his teammates and Totton cleared the danger. Then, when Garside got on the ball again, a neat turn enabled him to take Charlie Kennedy all the way back to the Totton left-wing corner flag where he forced a throw-in. Parkway worked the situation to produce a cross that Hallett headed away and, when the ball came back into the box, Magri hoofed it over the trees and into Salisbury Road.

Ben Winterburn-1_AFC Totton vs Plymouth Parkway_FATr3Q_Sat07Oct2023.jpg
BIG BEN: AFC Bournemouth U21 loanee midfielder Ben Winterburn in possession for AFC Totton against Plymouth Parkway at the Snows Stadium.

There is either a highly-contagious muscle-wasting condition going around that only affects goalkeepers - don’t worry, it isn’t serious; it only lasts about two minutes at a time - or dastardly, conniving managers and coaches are instructing their No.1s to sink to the grass on the pretence of being injured, so the physio can run on to the pitch while the outfield players gather around the dug-out to receive new tactical instructions. Referees, of course, are oblivious. Plymouth boss Lee Hobbs crowbarred such an opportunity into proceedings to make alterations to Parkway’s approach, while Totton’s players welcomed the chance for an impromptu water break. When play resumed, Benny Read conceded a corner on the Plymouth left, which Magri headed firmly away.

Plymouth defender Callum Rose did well to intercept Rendell’s knock-on from a high diagonal pass by Joe Oastler, with Maloney lurking dangerously on the Totton left. Oscar Halls directed a similar cross-field pass from the halfway line on the Plymouth right to pick out Jack Crago - the scorer of Plymouth’s winner the last time these two sides met at Bolitho Park, two years ago - on the left of the Totton box. Crago chopped on to his right foot to shake off the attentions of Hallett and aimed a shot towards the far corner, which Stags ‘keeper Lewis Noice was able to catch from a standing position.

Ragguette got caught too far up the pitch when a Totton move broke down. Plymouth swiftly moved the ball from right to left and appeared to be making good progress towards the Totton penalty area, until Read dropped infield to cover behind Hallett and take the ball away for the home side. When Plymouth next threatened, a strong tackle from Winterburn enabled Totton to maintain control.

Overhit passes are an occupational hazard for teams that favour direct deliveries into the channels and frequent cross-field switches, and when both teams are doing it, the crowd should probably be issued with complimentary crash helmets. Magri did well to clear under pressure from the busy Callum Hall, then Taylor and Rendell reversed their usual roles with the No.10 knocking the ball down in the centre-circle for the No.9, whose lobbed pass behind the Plymouth defence brought Parkes racing out of his penalty area to head the ball away before the inrushing Maloney could poke it past the goalkeeper to set himself up for a potential open goal from 25 yards.

A foul by Ragguette gave Plymouth an opportunity to deliver the ball into the Totton box from 30 yards out on their right flank. Lane bent his high free-kick towards the far side but Noice took to the skies to confidently commandeer the football. From the goalkeeper’s drop-kick, Taylor and Rendell were able to make the ball stick up front and work their way from the right wing into the middle. Rendell had to stretch to retain Totton possession from Taylor’s pass, but he was able to tee up Kennedy for a long-range shot that veered away to the right of goal.

Leon Maloney-2_AFC Totton vs Plymouth Parkway_FATr3Q_Sat07Oct2023.jpg
PLAYMAKER: Leon Maloney looks for a way past two Plymouth Parkway defenders.

Totton were content to sit off Plymouth whenever their visitors had possession in their own half, which given Parkway’s preference for long diagonals meant Magri, Hallett and Oastler were charged with combatting the aerial bombardment.  On 33 minutes, Garside came close to levelling the scores for the visitors with a thunderous left-footed effort from 30 yards, when a cluster of players competed for a high ball at the edge of the Totton penalty area. Magri’s header repelled the initial danger before Garside smashed the follow-up inches over the crossbar, with the green-clad figure of Lewis Noice in full flight across his goalmouth. Then, Hallett and Magri were caught competing for the same ball, opening up space for Hall to try an angled shot from the left of the area, which Noice saved and held before conducting the necessary inquest.

At the other end, Rendell was dropping deeper and leaving Taylor further upfield to chase lost causes and keep the Parkway defenders honest. Hallett had to clear from the edge of Totton’s six-yard box after Hall timed his run to beat the offside trap and cross low from the right-wing byline. Magri headed away from the resulting corner, before Taylor tried to dribble down the middle of the pitch, as much to relieve the immediate pressure on his defence than with any realistic hope of progressing a meaningful attack.

Shortly before half-time, Plymouth came within a whisker of equalising when their right-back Shane White found space on the right of Totton’s penalty area from a deep cross. He headed the ball square to Williams to the left of the penalty spot, who spun on to his left foot and struck the ball against the intersection of post and crossbar at the top-left corner with Noice rooted to the turf. The rebound looped invitingly for Hall, but he couldn’t adjust his feet quickly enough and sliced his effort into the air, enabling Oastler to force the ball away.

During two minutes of first-half stoppage time, Maloney was dispossessed as he tried to dribble through the centre-circle. Oastler collected the loose ball and picked out Taylor on the right-wing touchline, who tried to attack the box. Lane did well to shepherd him wide and eventually claim a goal-kick for his side.

AFC TOTTON                                            1
PLYMOUTH PARKWAY                     0

Jimmy Ball made two changes to his side at half-time, bringing on Adam Tomasso and Alfie Stanley in place of Luke Hallett and Ethan Taylor. Tomasso went into the midfield as the team moved to a more conventional four-at-the-back system.

Plymouth’s Shane White was quick to get down the right wing from the kick-off, sending over a cross that Read headed away. Rendell collected in midfield and tried to release Alfie Stanley through the middle; Oscar Halls intercepted to shut the door for the visitors. Then, Noice reacted sharply when a long, high ball dropped over Oastler with Jack Crago looking to latch on to it on the edge of the Totton box; the ‘keeper snatched the ball away before the Parkway striker could get there.

Scott Rendell-1_AFC Totton vs Plymouth Parkway_FATr3Q_Sat07Oct2023.jpg
LEADING FROM THE FRONT: AFC Totton captain Scott Rendell holds off Plymouth Parkway's Callum Hall during the Isuzu FA Trophy Third Round Qualifying tie at Snows Stadium.

Possession switched back and forth in the middle of the pitch for a few minutes, as both teams let themselves down by ruining their own passing moves with unforced errors. White welcomed Tomasso to the cup tie with a late challenge after The Stags midfielder had already controlled the dropping ball and shifted it away from the incoming defender. Tempers threatened to flare at that point, which the Referee dampened by pulling White away from the angry mob before flashing the yellow card at him. From the free-kick, close to the Totton left-wing touchline, Maloney’s delivery into the penalty area was knocked out but if fell to Tomasso about 20 yards out. He controlled and let fly with a shot which was blocked and then cleared by the Parkway defence.

Stanley had his first sigh of goal when he managed to loop Kennedy’s clipped pass from deep over the head of Adam Parkes, who had come to the edge of his area to collect the ball. His heart no doubt in his mouth, Parkes was relieved that when he turned back towards his open goalmouth, the ball bounced within grasping distance, with Stanley a whisker from charging it down and away from him.

Callum Hall’s comedy tumble in the Totton penalty area brought some light relief to a dour cup-tie; the Referee appreciated the laugh and rewarded Hall with the benefit of the doubt as far booking him for simulation was concerned. Skipper Ryan Lane bent in a cross from the left which Oastler headed away before it could reach Halls.

The diminutive figures of Benny Read and Alfie Stanley made a nuisance of themselves, snapping at the heels of the Plymouth defenders to force them back into their own left-back corner and forcing a Totton throw-in. Read found Ben Winterburn, who got to the byline and sent in a low cross that Parkes claimed at the foot of his near post.

Totton had a corner and then a free-kick, both on the right, within a couple of minutes of each other but they were unable to hurt the Parkway defence. The visitors then replace Matt Wright with Reece Thomson, the No.17 coming off the pitch to be replace by the No.9.

A swift Parkway counter-attack was abruptly halted when Hall accidentally stood on the ball. Then, the same player stumbled in the penalty area again when he tried to catch up with a pass into the inside-left channel that bounced out of play ahead of him.

Late tackles from players on either side led to a series of several free-kicks in the middle, as bout sides struggled to assert control over the game, prompting Jimmy Ball to call winger Matty Burrows back to the dug-out from further up the touchline, where he was doing his stretching exercises. Benny Read made way, with Charlie Kennedy slotting in at right-back and Burrows taking up the left-wing position.

An enterprising run from halfway took Lane past Kennedy and threatened to open Totton up, until Hall slipped as he tried to run on to his captain’s pass. Then, Winterburn brought Burrows into the game for the first time by driving into space from the middle of the pitch and delivering the ball to the winger’s feet at the left-wing touchline. Burrows sized up Shane White and then ran the full-back to the byline, before chipping the ball into the middle where Rendell stretched his long neck but couldn’t connect, and Stanley was only a stride away from meeting the ball on the bounce before Parkes was able to snatch the ball up.

Parkway attacked from their right wing. When the ball came across, it was behind Reece Thomson but he managed to improvise a back-heel volley that looped over the crossbar. Lewis Noice’s goal-kick approached terra firma midway inside the Parkway half, where Scott Rendell forced it down into the open middle. Parkes came off his line again but he hadn’t bargained for the fleet-footed Matty BURROWS beating him to the ball and gently rolling it past him and into the empty net to put daylight between the two sides. The 73rd minute strike was Burrows’ sixth goal of the season in all competitions.

Matty Burrows-4_AFC Totton vs Plymouth Parkway_FATr3Q_Sat07Oct2023.jpg
MATCH-WINNER: Matty Burrows stepped off the bench to double AFC Totton's lead with his sixth goal of the 2023/24 season.

With his side heading out of the Isuzu FA Trophy, Plymouth manager Lee Hobbs decided to gamble by sending on Parkway Academy striker Dylan Jones in place of an exhausted Callum Hall.

Burrows continued to torment the visitors’ defence, using his fresh legs to close and charge down an Oscar Halls clearance from midway inside the Parkway half, but the rebound fell kindly to Parkes. When the ball went back up the other end of the pitch, Sam Magri’s composure under pressure enabled the former Malta international defender to guide possession safely into the arms of Noice, despite two forwards lurking with intent.

Ragguette collected the ball shortly left of the centre-circle and released Burrows on another raid down the flank, the lad from Sheffield adding a cutting edge to the Totton attack that Parkway could only nullify by conceding a corner. Maloney’s in-swinging cross flicked off a yellow head at the near post and flashed beyond the far post, with players from both sides only able to watch it go. The ball went out for a throw-in close to the right-wing corner flag, which Kennedy took. Burrows received the ball a few yards off the right corner of the penalty area, took a couple of steps infield and then drove a left-footed shot that was bravely blocked by a Plymouth defender at close quarters.

Kennedy intercepted a cross-field pass, as Parkway tried to find space on their left wing. Then, Garside’s high ball from deep into the inside-left channel was bread and butter to Magri. With 81 minutes on the clock, Burrows’ tenacity forced Parkway back from the halfway line, until a trip on the lively winger bought Totton a free-kick. It was played short and the home side began knocking the ball around amongst themselves.

Rendell took Kennedy’s pass under control and slipped Stanley in towards the right-wing byline. The nippy forward fired in a low cross that was hacked away by a yellow-shirted defender in the middle. Three minutes later, a period of keep-ball in the Parkway half eventually presented Winterburn with an opening on the edge of the penalty area, to the right of the D. The Cherries U21 loanee decided to put his laces through it, sending the ball narrowly over the crossbar.

Mike Carter, named among the substitutes but not sent on, could be heard motivating his teammates from the dug-out and issuing instructions to ensure they saw out the cup tie successfully. Maloney took possession in the centre and spread the play into space on the left, where Stanley received it. The striker jinked away from his marker and took aim with a shot that was deflected wide by a covering defender, but Totton couldn’t make it pay.

Shortly before the end of the game, Crago stole in behind Oastler to close in on the Totton goal. But before he could get his head up, Noice was out and on him like a rash. Crago tried to twist and turn to open up a better angle for the shot, but Noice shadowboxed with him before throwing himself in the way of the eventual effort, the rebound was then turned behind by Magri. Parkway’s corner from their right was pushed out to the edge of the box where Crago volleyed at goal, but it wasn’t a clean contact and Noice was able to pluck the ball out of the air.

Four minutes of stoppage time were indicated, injecting a sudden sense of urgency into the visitors. Totton sat back and cut out most of what Parkway could throw at them until three of those minutes had elapsed. Then, Thomson received the ball on the right of the Totton box and drove a low shot that was blocked. He retrieved the ball from a wider position and squared it to the centre for Dylan JONES to fire high into the net from about 10 yards, as Magri’s attempts to throw himself in the way were undermined by his foot slipping out from under him.

Plymouth managed to force the ball forward again before the final whistle but when Noice leapt high among several bodies in his penalty area to pick a long, high delivery out of the sky, cheers went up from the Totton faithful in the knowledge that the win was secure.

Jimmy Ball-1_AFC Totton vs Plymouth Parkway_FATr3Q_Sat07Oct2023.jpg

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

“I was hoping we would be aggressive, play on the front foot and be more dynamic today than we have been recently but it didn’t pan out like that. Once we’d scored, we sat off them and allowed them some territory, which is fine but we gave them too much room for my liking. They made a tactical switch around 15 minutes, which made them more solid and made it more difficult for us to play through them. We were pretty solid at the back ourselves, so I wasn’t overly concerned but one goal is never enough - especially in a cup tie - so I felt we needed to find another way to get at them.

“We made a couple of changes at half-time, changed our shape and got some fresh legs on to the pitch, and I thought we regained control of the game. We certainly managed to attack them more than they were able to attack us. We could see from the dug-out that some of their players were tiring, and when the game is like that, someone like Matty Burrows can go on and cause havoc.

“I don’t think they would have scored their late goal if Sam Magri hadn’t slipped, but you can’t blame Mags for that - that sort of thing happens in football sometimes. We won the game and we’re in the next round, so we’re happy enough. This is a competition was can enjoy competing in. There’s no pressure on us but if we are brave and aggressive, we’ll see what happens and how far we can go. I’m looking forward to Monday’s draw and, whoever we get, we will relish the challenge and do our best to keep progressing.”

In Monday’s draw for the Isuzu FA Trophy First Round Proper, AFC Totton were handed another home tie against fellow Southern League Premier Division South side Merthyr Town, who The Stags beat 1-0 at Penydarren Park in South Wales at the Third Round Qualifying stage of the same competition last season. The tie will take place at the Snows Stadium on Saturday 28 October.

AFC Totton's Fixtures for 2023/24

Emirates FA Cup | Fourth Round Qualifying | Snows Stadium, Totton | Saturday 14 October 2023 | Kick-Off at 3:00pm | Match Preview | Save money by purchasing tickets online in advance

By Ben Rochey-Adams

Images courtesy of Craig Hobbs Photography

Get your logo here