SOUTHAMPTON DIVISIONAL FA
SATURDAY SENIOR CHALLENGE CUP
Final - Season 2021/22
AFC TOTTON 3
Hisham Kasimu 71mins; Freddie Read 75mins; Lewis Waterfield 83mins
FOLLAND SPORTS 0
For the first time in 40 years, AFC Totton are Winners of the Southampton Divisional FA Saturday Senior Challenge Cup. Despite going into the showpiece final at St. Mary’s Stadium on Thursday night without a recognised goalkeeper, the Stags stood up to some early pressure from Folland Sports from the Wessex League Division One to eventually take control of the tie thanks to three second-half goals from Hisham Kasimu, Freddie Read and Lewis Waterfield.
40 YEARS OF HURT, NO MORE: The Stags celebrate lifting the Southampton Senior Cup for the first time since the 1981/82 season, after beating Folland Sports at St. Mary's Stadium.
Before I continue, let me apologise for the delay in writing and posting this match report. With one of the regular commentators working in Poland, I was seconded at the last minute to provide co-commentary on StagsRadio, so I didn’t take any notes during the match upon which to base my report. I have been able to write this a few days later thanks to a private link to Harrison Read’s video of the match, with the commentary from Doug Webber and myself overlaid.
With Lewis Noice still ruled out due to the broken collarbone he suffered against Winchester City in the semi-final of this competition and Amadeusz Skryzniarz out with a leg injury, it was planned that 16-year-old Josh Jeffries would take the No.1 jersey, as he did for the recent trip to Highworth Town. Unfortunately, he picked up an injury during the week leading up to the game, leaving the Stags without a recognised goalkeeper. There wasn’t time to register Jack Martin from the AFC Totton Sunday side - he may not have been eligible, anyway, having not previously featured for the First Team - so it fell to club stalwart Brett Williams, who usually plays as a centre-forward, to receive a crash course in shot-stopping from the club’s Goalkeeping Coach, Steve Hollick. It was a novel way for the former Reading and Torquay United player to make his 100th appearance for the Stags, including substitute appearances.
Callum Baughan returned to the starting line-up in place of Pascal Kpohomouh, after starting on the bench at Slimbridge in the last game of the Southern League Div.1 South season on Saturday 23 April. Freddie Read came into midfield and Hisham Kasimu, who missed the trip to Slimbridge, started up front, one goal short of 30 for the season in all competitions. Shaquille Gwengwe, who has contributed 9 goals to AFC Totton’s 2021/22 Southampton Senior Cup campaign, was named among the substitutes.
The Planemakers from Hamble-le-Rice got the final underway, before a crowd of 1,036, attacking towards the Chapel End of Southampton Football Club’s home stadium, wearing red-and-white halved shirts - reminiscent of Feyenoord or Poole Town - with red shorts and red socks. Totton were decked out in their home kit of all-blue-and-white.
Folland began the match camped out in the final third, pressing the Stags back into their right-back area. An early attempt from the edge of the penalty area by Fabio Manuel took a deflection and was immediately punted away by Brett Williams, when he had time to pick the ball up and get an early feel of it with his hands.
Totton settled down into the fourth minute, passing the ball around the pitch at their own pace and ensuring that every player got a touch. But, when an attempted through-ball was knocked back to Folland keeper Harry Newman just outside his penalty area, his long-kick upfield was intercepted by Callum Baughan with Fabio Manuel at his shoulder. He laid it back to Williams, who had to hurry his clearance before Manuel could throw his body in the way, hoping to divert the ball towards an open net.
An attack down the Totton left resulted in a throw-in on the opposite flank, midway inside the Folland half, in the seventh minute. Baughan used it to play a one-two with Lewis Waterfield and then another with Jake Adams to make his way to the right-wing corner, where James Johnson came in with a hefty but clean tackle to concede the corner. Adams sent the ball over but it floated just too high for Ade Olumuyiwa and Folland were able to break down their right side, with Nathan Gray, who also plays for AFC Totton Sunday, showing enough pace to beat Jordan Ragguette to the ball - which is a claim that few players in the Southern League Div.1 South have been able to make this season. But Ragguette stuck to his task and forced Gray to turn the ball back to his defensive line, while Totton got players back.
TON UP, KEEPER: Brett Williams made his 100th appearance for AFC Totton in the Southampton Senior Cup Final - but his first ever as a goalkeeper. Graham Lycett, the MD of match sponsor Jellyfish Livewire, presented Brett with a signed shirt.
Shortly after, James Johnson passed back to Newman inside his area and, with Ethan Taylor bearing down on him, the Folland keeper chopped the ball from his left foot to his right just in time to prevent the Stags’ second top goalscorer nicking it away for an easy tap-in.
By the 10 minute mark, Totton began to assert some authority in midfield. Intricate passing between Waterfield, Adams, Kasimu and Taylor moved the Stags from half-way to the edge of the box and presented the chance to play Freddie Read in, making a late run from midfield into the inside-left channel, but the full-back Jake Bartlett read the situation well and was able to volley the ball clear for the Planemakers, Harry Medway doing likewise near the half-way line to prevent Folland breaking away on the counter-attack.
Three minutes later, Adams linked up with first Read and then Ragguette to advance down the left-hand side, with the latter playing a short pass to Hisham Kasimu on the touchline. He dropped his shoulder to drive past Bartlett and then ran at Gray, the Folland striker having dropped back into his own penalty area to assist his defence. As he got to the left side of the 6-yard-box, Kasimu tried to centre but stumbled as he did so, his low cross going between Taylor - on the penalty spot - and Baughan at the far post, allowing Connor Rowe to punt it away.
QUEUING UP: Ade Olumuyiwa, Jake Adams and a mostly-hidden Harry Medway line up for an AFC Totton set-piece during the Southampton Senior Cup Final at St. Mary's Stadium.
Gray got back again to dispossess Ragguette inside the box, at the expense of a corner on the Totton left. Folland headed the ball away but Jamie White was then called up for a foul on Read on the right touchline, about 40 yards out. Adams sent in a high left-footed in-swinger towards the far side of the 6-yard-box, where Brad Johnson managed to get above Olumuyiwa, but he only succeeded in heading the ball to Kasimu, 12 yards out at an angle to the left of goal. The Stags striker took a touch to control it, jinked past James Johnson and fired in a shot which Brad Johnson bravely blocked with his torso, deflecting the ball away for another corner. Adams crossed towards the near post area where Adam Tomasso met it, but his header looped harmlessly over the crossbar.
In the 20th minute, Read played the ball forward into the feet of Taylor, who turned his man and exchanged short passes with Kasimu, enabling himself to advance across the edge of the D and commit defenders. He beat Kenny Gatera’s sliding tackle but couldn’t get past Bartlett, who also did well to block the follow-up shot from Jake Adams.
Harry Medway did well in the 24th minute to intercept Bartlett’s long ball into the inside-right channel, intended for the Folland skipper Matt Casey. His Stags counterpart took control of the situation by bringing the ball under control and taking his opponent out to the touchline, where he won himself a throw-in. The ball came infield to Ade Olumuyiwa, whose long, high pass down the centre had Rowe stretching to head away. The ball fell to Kasimu midway inside the Folland half, who shielded it from Gatera and fed Adams. The teenager glided past Bartlett to make his way into the penalty area at the left corner and then tried to chip the keeper, sending it over the bar to the frustration of two Totton players who had run into the centre, anticipating a cross.
A timely intervention from Bartlett prevented Kasimu and Adams profiting from Taylor’s flick-on, after a strong defensive header from Medway had put Totton on the front foot again. But within moments, the ball came out to the left-wing touchline where Jake Adams sent White to the shops with an audacious shimmy to create space for himself. A short one-two with Read and then a pass infield to Tomasso soon found Lewis Waterfield in space in the middle of the Folland half. As one defender raced out to close him down, he threaded a pass for Taylor to gather near the right-wing touchline, where he turned and laid the ball back towards the penalty spot for Waterfield to meet with a first-time drive along the deck, which Henry Newman saved with his left leg, David De Gea-style, to deny the best chance of the match so far, in the 26th minute.
Baughan showed his strength to stop Fabio Manuel, who created both of Folland’s goals in their semi-final against Fawley AFC, getting away down their left wing, taking the ball off him and finding Olumuyiwa who could play the ball out again for Totton.
30-GOAL STRIKER: Hisham Kasimu's opening goal in the Southampton Senior Cup Final was his 30th in all competitions for the Stags this season.
On the half hour, Kasimu conceded a free-kick near half-way for a foul on Brad Johnson, which the defender took quickly, to his brother James on the left-hand side. He let the ball run to Manuel and overlapped to receive the pass, cutting inside Baughan and shooting from about 25 yards, into the grateful arms of Brett Williams, resplendent in the all-yellow AFC Totton goalkeeper’s kit.
A lengthy passage of passing by Totton that ran into the 33rd minute resulted in Baughan finding Adams in space on the right-hand side. As the full-back continued on an underlapping run, Adams curled a delightful pass into the path of Waterfield who was sprinting into the inside-right channel. He brought the ball under control and showed terrific awareness of the position of Connor Rowe at his back to spin and fire a low cross into the 6-yard-box from the touchline, towards Kasimu. Jake Bartlett stretched and diverted the ball away from Kasimu, enabling Newman to dive on top of it with Ethan Taylor closing in.
A minute later, Taylor picked the ball up midway inside his own half and raced away from Gatera before squaring to Waterfield 40 yards from the Folland goal. A short pass fed Adams on the edge of the box, right of the D. He turned by letting the ball run between his legs, before jinking one way and then the other to unbalance the defender, then curled a left-foot effort just above the angle of post and bar.
Taylor was on the ball again, in the centre circle, and tried to feed Adams on the right, but the youngster slipped on the well-watered surface, enabling James Johnson to intercept and set Fabio Manuel away down the Folland left wing. That was until Ade Olumuyiwa ran across, shoved his opponent out of way and calmly laid the ball back to Brett Williams for a long clearance to the half-way line. But a foul by Kasimu gave Rowe the chance to send the ball forward again. His free-kick was turned away by Tomasso but then immediately looped back into the Totton box by Brad Johnson, where Matt Casey suddenly found himself bearing down on goal in-between three Totton defenders. The ball bounced up and he diverted it into the 6-yard-box for Nathan Gray to try and reach on the stretch, Williams blocking with his right foot in the style of an outfield tackle, and the ball squirmed across the open side of his goalmouth but just beyond the reach of White, who tried to retrieve it on the far side but was beaten to it by the covering Stags left-back, Jordan Ragguette.
PLAYMAKER: AFC Totton's Ethan Taylor runs at the Folland Sports defence, as he did all night during his Man of the Match display on the St. Mary's Stadium pitch.
The referee had a word with Nathan Gray in the 40th minute, for an off-the-ball kick on Olumuyiwa, which appeared to be part of a mini-feud developing between the two players after a series of minor fouls on each other. Olumuyiwa had the ball in the centre-circle, less than a minute later, and found Read on the left-hand side. He advanced a few yards and then tried to play Taylor in. Folland blocked it but the ball came out to Ragguette on the left and his short diagonal pass infield was cushioned by Kasimu into the path of Taylor, to the left of the D. With red-and-white shirts scrambling to get back, Taylor checked on to his right foot and shot from about 3 yards behind the penalty spot, but the effort on his weaker foot lacked power and was easy for Newman to scoop up, leaving the Stags No.10 with his head in his hands. From Newman’s kick downfield, Medway tested Williams’s alertness with a deft back-header that the stand-in Totton keeper was equal to.
Ethan Taylor took advantage of a short period of sloppy play from both sides to press James Johnson on the Totton right, close to the half-way line. He then ran on to the loose ball and took on Jake Long to put the ball on his stronger left foot, on his way into the centre, setting himself for a 25-yard shot that he dragged to the right of goal.
The first half ended with Totton probing around the edge of the Folland box. A couple of crosses were well-defended but there was always a blue shirt available to retrieve the ball in midfield and begin another forward move, as the superior fitness of the higher division team began to show. But Folland defended well and were good value for their clean sheet at the break.
AFC TOTTON 0
FOLLAND SPORTS 0
Ade Olumuyiwa hooked the ball out of St. Mary’s Stadium just two minutes into the second half, to put a stop to a Folland foray down their left side. Shortly after, the towering defender headed away Gray’s free-kick from deep on the left, to set Taylor away on the counter-attack. He got away from Gatera at the half-way line and then rode a lunging tackle from Gray, who had come across to the right to try and cover for his defenders who’d gone forward for the set-piece. As Taylor entered the penalty area with three defenders closing in from all sides, he miss-controlled the ball but was still able to lay it back for Adam Tomasso to strike from right of the D, forcing Newman to parry over his crossbar for a Totton corner. Before it could be taken, the Referee halted play to give Gray a warning about the attempted foul on Taylor, with his captain Matt Casey in attendance.
Connor Rowe managed to block a Jake Adams drive from the edge of the area, after clever approach play by Waterfield, five minutes into the second period. Adams received possession again and tried to chip a cross to the head of Kasimu on the corner of the 6-yard-box, but Rowe was there again to head the ball away for the Planemakers.
Olumuyiwa read the flight of a high ball well to prevent Gray getting in behind him. But from the resulting throw-in on the Follands right, midway inside Totton’s half, Bartlett received the ball back from Gatera and then hooked it to the edge of the Totton box, where Manuel beat Baughan to it and was able to turn and unleash a left-footed strike that Brett Williams repelled into the air with two strong hands, enabling Read to challenge and Ragguette to clear for the Stags.
In the 52nd minute, Read pushed the ball out to the right for Jake Adams, who played it infield for Taylor. He got to the ball just in time to skip over Gatera’s sliding tackle and get his head up to assess his situation; 25 yards out, dead centre. His low left-footed shot evaded Bartlett’s attempt to block but goalkeeper Henry Newman got down swiftly to push the ball wide for a corner, despite the ball skimming off the surface just in front of him. Read and Adams played a short corner and fed Waterfield on the edge of the area. As he pushed the ball square for Taylor inside the D, Rowe came flying out of defence with a reckless sliding challenge that caught Waterfield’s right foot, resulting in a free-kick to Totton and the first yellow card of the evening to Connor Rowe. Ethan Taylor took the free-kick, striking Bartlett on the shoulder in the defensive wall. The ball looped high and as Newman came out to catch it, Ade Olumuyiwa was adjudged to have pushed him before kicking the ball into the empty net for a dissallowed goal.
MIDFIELD BATTLE: Lewis Waterfield gets stuck in during the Southampton Senior Cup Final against Folland Sports at St. Mary's Stadium.
But the pressure was mounting, with increasingly one-way traffic headed towards the Folland Sports goal. Totton won another free-kick in a dangerous position in the 56th minute, after a prolonged spell of possession around the Folland box enabled Tomasso to make a surging run that was blocked by Rowe. Fortunately for the already cautioned centre-back, the Referee interpreted a push from behind by Jamie White as the first foul, and showed him the yellow card. Tomasso received treatment from Andrew Hanley before Jake Adams lined up the free-kick, about 20 yards out. The young playmaker fired in a fierce effort with his left foot, through the defensive wall, to pull another smart parry from Newman low to his right, the keeper grateful to see Taylor’s follow-up strike hit the ankles of Casey, who did well to track the movement of the ball as it rebounded either side of him, requiring him to turn 360-degrees to keep Taylor in his sights. Totton were unable to capitalise on the corner from the left-hand side.
Just after the hour, Folland made the game’s first substitution, sending on Nick Watts to replace Kenny Gatera in midfield. Taylor committed a foul near Totton’s right touchline, which presented Gray with the opportunity to deliver the ball into the box. Olumuyiwa did enough to divert the ball away from a crowd of players at the far post, at the expense of a corner, which Callum Baughan subsequently headed out from his right-hand post, although the Referee gave Totton a goal-kick.
In the 66th minute, Medway and Tomasso moved the ball along the floor quickly to find Adams on the left-wing touchline. He skipped past one defender, only to be clattered by Jake Bartlett near the left-wing corner flag, earning the Folland right-back his team’s third yellow card of the night. Freddie Read’s free-kick was headed out at the far side by Rowe. The corner was taken short but before they could get meaningful service into the box, Totton were forced back to the centre-circle. Jordan Ragguette charged forward to get to the ball before Gray, possibly benefitting from an unintentional handball in the process, and progressed down the middle of the pitch to slip a short pass to Olumuyiwa, who squared to the unmarked Ethan Taylor, 12 yards out, left of the penalty spot. His first-time shot was brilliantly saved by Henry Newman, the goalkeeper displaying impeccable reflexes to scoop the ball, one-handed, past his right-hand post. From a short corner, the ball came out to Adams on the edge of the box, but his shot was blocked, and then Ragguette’s cross into the centre ran straight through to Newman.
The goalkeeper’s drop-kick was a tired one, though, and Adams intercepted it inside the Folland half on Totton’s left wing and, after some good footwork to beat Brad Johnson and deliver a cross, he found the head of Waterfield on the far side, who tried to nod it across goal for Kasimu, but Rowe was able to volley it away. Baughan tracked the flight of the ball and knocked it towards Taylor, whose shot was smothered on the edge of the area but resulted in another Totton corner on the right. Adams curled an in-swinging cross towards the far post but Henry Newman withstood the pressure from the tall frame of Ade Olumuyiwa, as well as a crowd of other players from both teams, to make a clean catch.
It took until the 71st minute for the Stags to eventually make the breakthrough, with an attacking move of real quality. As Lewis Waterfield and Freddie Read exchanged square passes just inside the Folland half, Harry Medway set off on a forward sprint, which may have been the moment of distraction necessary to allow Taylor to dummy Waterfield’s forward pass down the middle, wrong-footing James Johnson and enabling Hisham KASIMU to dart past Brad Johnson and into the penalty area, to fire an unstoppable right-footed blast across Henry Newman and into the bottom-left corner of the net. It was Kasimu’s 30th goal in all competitions for the Stags this season and, for all the heroics of Newman in the Planemakers’ goal, no more than AFC Totton deserved on the night.
Folland were visibly struggling to keep pace with their higher division counterparts on a pitch that is bigger than either side would be used to, and the opening goal may also have taken the wind out of the underdogs’ sails. Within a couple of minutes, Totton were in control of the ball again, pushing it around in the Folland half and when Read slipped Adams in at the left corner of the penalty area, his cross-shot evaded both the inside of the far post and the outstretched leg of Waterfield.
TWO-NIL TO TOTTON: Stags midfielder Freddie Read latches on to Taylor's short pass to fire beyond the dive of Henry Newman in the Southampton Senior Cup Final at St. Mary's Stadium.
Newman’s placed goal-kick was drifting out towards the touchline on the Totton left, until Ragguette slid in to keep the ball in play and divert it to Adams, 10 yards inside the Folland half. Adams had time to control, turn and set off on a forward run before he spotted Taylor sneaking into a gap between the defenders just outside the D. Aware of a recovering defender just over his shoulder, Taylor intelligently turned outwards, setting himself to lay the ball into the path of Freddie READ rushing past on his right-hand side, the midfielder adjusting his feet in time to tuck the ball into the same corner of the net that Kasimu had breached just a few minutes before, to double the Stags’ lead.
Before the match resumed, Brad Johnson was replaced by Will Gange for Folland Sports. And the Planemakers created a half-chance almost immediately from the restart, with Jake Long playing a high ball towards White on the edge of the area. Olumuyiwa tried to dominate him in the air but the ball bounced off White into the gap between the two Totton centre-backs, where Nathan Gray nipped in and tried a left-footed lob. But he got too much on the effort and sent it over the crossbar, before turning around to see his shirt number on the display board to signal that he was being substituted in favour of Augustine Banhire.
The hard-working Rowe did well to block Taylor’s cross from the left when Kasimu was wide open in the middle. Then, Lewis Waterfield’s name was taken for tussling near half-way. The free-kick was sent high into the Totton box but James Johnson’s header was wide of Williams’s left-hand post. Jack Hoey then came on for Totton, in place of Hisham Kasimu, and Pascal Kpohomouh replaced Callum Baughan.
Fabio Manuel made an enterprising run through the midfield, attracting four blue shirts and eventually a kick on the heel, which earned Adam Tomasso a yellow card. Augustine Banhire tried his luck from the free-kick, from all of 35 yards out in a central position, but his shot was well over the bar. And, from the resulting goal-kick, the Stags went forward and added a third goal.
Williams sent the ball out to the left, where Ragguette kept it in play and Waterfield put Totton on the front foot. The move swept from the midfield out to the right, where Pascal Kpohomouh’s sharp pass enabled Taylor to turn on the corner of the penalty area and run at the Folland defence inside the box. Three defenders converged on him but Rowe seemed to pull out, perhaps wary that he was already on a yellow card, and as Taylor descended upon Newman’s goal, he poked a low shot against the keeper’s shins. The ball came out to the edge of the 6-yard-box, and Kpohomouh slipped as his attempted follow-up shot spun off Casey, across the goalmouth to an unmarked Lewis WATERFIELD, who took the ball down on his right knee before lashing it past the despairing Newman at the left-hand post.
THAT SEALS IT: Lewis Waterfield's 83rd-minute strike made it 3-0 to AFC Totton in the final of the Southampton Senior Cup at St. Mary's Stadium.
Nathan Hurst then stepped off the bench to replace Adam Tomasso in the Totton midfield for the remaining seven minutes. And the former Lymington Town player was soon in the thick of the action, latching on to Olumuyiwa’s pass to advance straight down the middle of the pitch and feed Ethan Taylor, just outside the D. Taylor danced around two red-and-white shirts before squaring to Jack Hoey on the right corner of the penalty area. Hoey’s angled, first-time drive was well-saved by the impressive Newman, who caught the ball while diving to his right.
Taylor linked up with Adams through the middle to threaten the Folland Sports goal again in the 88th minute, but Bartlett hooked the ball out of play. Then, Williams came sliding to the right edge of his penalty area to claim a through-ball, taking out his teammate Olumuyiwa in the process. The makeshift goalkeeper’s clean sheet was hanging by a thread from a late left-wing cross, which Williams seemed to lose in flight, but Nathan Hurst was well-positioned to head the ball away from an open goal with Banhire trying to connect. Hurst then conceded a late free-kick, about 35 yards out, which was fired high and wide. Williams punched away a Nick Watts cross from the right-hand side and then another, just a few moments later, from which Waterfield made a brave block to prevent a follow-up shot from the far side of the area.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Ethan Taylor picked up the award for a superb individual display against Folland Sports in the Southampton Senior Cup at St. Mary's Stadium.
The Referee then called time on the match to signal that AFC Totton are the Winners of the Southampton Divisional FA Saturday Senior Challenge Cup 2021/22. Ethan Taylor was awarded with the Official Man of the Match - as indeed he was on StagsRadio - before Harry Medway became the first AFC Totton skipper to lift the Southampton Senior Cup in 40 years.
JOB WELL DONE: The AFC Totton backroom staff, with manager Jimmy Ball on the right-hand side, celebrate winning the Southampton Senior Cup 2021/22 at St. Mary's Stadium.
Match Report by Ben Rochey-Adams and Harrison Read (Videographer)
Images courtesy of Craig Hobbs Photography