SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIV.1 SOUTH 2022/23
MATCHDAY 06 - Saturday 15 October 2022
AFC TOTTON 3
Scott Rendell 16mins, 80mins (pen); Brett Williams 20mins
SLIMBRIDGE AFC 0
Having spent September competing in various cup competitions and being held to a goalless draw in the New Forest derby at Bashley in midweek, AFC Totton got their Southern League Div.1 South campaign back on track with a dominant victory over Gloucestershire-based Slimbridge AFC at the Snows Stadium, today (Saturday).
Two goals from Scott Rendell and one from his strike partner Brett Williams were the least The Stags deserved from a match in which they also hit the woodwork four times and limited The Swans to just one attempt on Lewis Noice’s goal.
Jordan Ragguette - who, for many, has been AFC Totton’s Player of the Season so far - sat this one out as a precaution, after picking up a knock on Tuesday night, which enabled Ben Jefford to continue his return from a long injury lay-off with his second start of the 2022/23 season. Jack Masterton was recalled to the midfield, with Adam Tomasso dropping to the bench. The selection of Brett Williams ahead of Freddie Read in the No.10 shirt indicated Jimmy Ball’s attacking intent with the veteran Stags striker partnering Scott Rendell up front. Southampton-loanee striker Harvey Woods was named on the bench for the first time since joining Totton during the week.
1. Lewis NOICE
2. Jack SEDDON
3. Ben JEFFORD
4. Mike CARTER (Capt.)
5. Charlie KENNEDY
6. Luke HALLETT
7. Ethan TAYLOR
8. Jack MASTERTON
9. Scott RENDELL
10. Brett WILLIAMS
11. Jake ADAMS
14. Harvey WOODS
15. Yemi ODUBADE
16. Jireh OYEBAMIJI
17. Adam TOMASSO
18. Freddie READ
Making their second visit to the Snows Stadium in just over a month, having lost on penalties in the Isuzu FA Trophy 1st Round Qualifying tie in mid-September, The Swans wore aqua coloured shirts - similar to those favoured by the Miami Dolphins NFL franchise - with navy shorts and socks.
The visitors mounted an early attack with midfielder Levi Francis charging forward and slipping the ball through to Ethan Dunbar, the young striker moving a fraction too early and triggering the offside flag.
Totton almost took the lead in the eighth minute when Scott Rendell’s deft headed flick-on played Ethan Taylor in on goal at inside-right, the winger holding off a defender to get his shot away only to see his effort bounce off the near post and across goal to safety.
The home side settled into their passing game, and won a free-kick just right of centre for a trip on Taylor, roughly 25 yards out. Jack Masterton’s left-footed shot was on target but Slimbridge goalkeeper Lewis Adams dealt with it comfortably. Then, another knock-on from the head of Rendell had Brett Williams darting in behind the visitors’ defence, but as Lewis Adams closed him down, Williams lobbed his attempt narrowly wide of the left-hand post.
The Slimbridge defence was already beginning to creak under the weight of Totton pressure, and when left-back Ben Prictor pulled Taylor down for another free-kick in the 16th minute, The Stags took the opportunity to open the scoring. Masterton floated his delivery towards the penalty spot and Scott RENDELL looped his unchallenged header over Lewis Adams and a covering defender to drop the ball into the right side of the net for his eighth goal of the season in all competitions.
AERIAL ASSAULT: Unmarked striker Scott Rendell (No.9) climbs high to loop his header into the back of the Slimbridge net, giving AFC Totton the lead at the Snows Stadium.
Shortly after the restart, Slimbridge’s talented midfielder Marley Thomas, who scored both of The Swans’ goals in their 2-2 draw at home to Evesham United on Tuesday night, was booked for a foul on Totton right-back Jack Seddon. And by the 20th minute, the home side were two goals to the good.
Skipper Mike Carter received the ball mid-way inside the Slimbridge half of the pitch and passed to Taylor in space on the Totton right wing. With defenders retreating, Taylor sent a low in-swinging delivery into the box and, as Lewis Adams came out to scoop the ball up, Brett WILLIAMS nipped in front of him to nudge the ball home with his left hip, marking his first league goal since scoring at Slimbridge on the final day of last season, and his sixth goal in all competitions so far this term.
Edjidja Mbunga and Dunbar tried to mount a response from the restart. The two Slimbridge forwards combined well in a tight area between Totton defenders and midfielders to enable the latter to get his shot away from the edge of the penalty area, but he dragged his effort across Lewis Noice’s goal and wide to the left.
Some excellent one and two-touch football from the Totton back line, through the midfield and out to the left wing allowed Jake Adams to curl in an inviting cross that Williams met with his head but was unable to direct on target. Then, Lewis Adams showed some nifty footwork for a goalkeeper, turning sharply on the edge of his 6-yard box to evade the sliding challenge of Williams, as the visitors flirted with overplaying at the back.
As Totton continued to dictate the pace and tempo of the game, Jake Adams was brought down 25 yards from the Slimbridge goal in a central position, shortly before the half-hour mark. Williams took responsibility, his right-footed shot clearing the defensive wall and clipping the crossbar on its way over the top.
Rendell’s knockdowns continued to pose problems for the Slimbridge defence. Taylor latched onto the ball in the inside-right channel and centred for Williams, a deflection off a defender taking it away from him and into the grateful arms of Lewis Adams. Then, a speculative chip from outside the box by Ethan Taylor had The Swans keeper beaten all ends up, the ball floating just over the top-right corner of the goal via an inadvertant touch off a defender’s foot.
SIX OF THE BEST: Brett Williams netted on 20 minutes to take his tally for the 2022/23 season so far to six goals in all competitions.
Defensive determination from Ben Jefford and Charlie Kennedy won the ball back for the home side in front of the management team’s dug-out, enabling Jefford to find Jake Adams, who advanced into the Slimbridge half before feeding the run of Brett Williams into the left of the penalty area. Lewis Adams was quickly off his line to close the angle and divert the ball across goal.
Slimbridge striker Ethan Dunbar has been in prolific form in the early part of the 2022/23 season. He came into this match as the division’s joint-second top goalscorer with six goals, and had his family, including his younger brother, in attendance to cheer him on. Pity for them, then, that Charlie Kennedy doesn’t have a sentimental bone in his body, as The Stags’ centre-back raced across to the touchline to prevent Dunbar exploiting open space on The Swans’ right flank.
Ben Jefford and Jake Adams linked up on the Totton left, creating room for Adams to bend a dipping cross into the box. The ball eluded Williams but struck a defender’s foot and looked to be flying towards the top-left corner for an own goal until Slimbridge captain Myron Turner leapt to head clear.
The first half came to a close with Scott Rendell and, especially, Brett Williams fighting to retain possession on the half-way line, determined as they were to prevent Slimbridge finding a foothold from which to re-assert themselves. When the Referee’s whistle sounded, The Stags walked down the tunnel to an appreciative round of applause from the home fans in the Wessex Heartbeat Stand and all around the ground.
AFC TOTTON 2
SLIMBRIDGE AFC 0
Before the second half got underway, Jimmy Ball made two changes to his team. Jack Masterton came off, with Freddie Read taking his place in midfield. And Brett Williams was also withdrawn at the break, allowing for the introduction of new signing Harvey Woods, a young striker who joined the club on loan from Southampton at the end of last week.
MAN OF THE MATCH: Attacking midfielder Jake Adams earned the accolade with an all-action display for AFC Totton against Slimbridge AFC at the Snows Stadium.
Myron Turner was sent-off on his previous visit to the Snows Stadium, but he was unlucky to pick up a yellow card shortly into the second period of this match for a foul on Mike Carter, as players from both sides struggled to get a bouncing ball under control near the half-way line, Turner slightly mistiming his intervention as Carter tried to kick upfield.
Soon after, Carter had the chance to shoot from just outside the Slimbridge box but preferred to slip Jake Adams in to his left, goalkeeping namesake Lewis Adams reacting quickly to shut the angle down.
Jack Seddon was shown the yellow card for delaying a Slimbridge throw-in, shortly before Freddie Read had a powerful shot bravely blocked by the body of a defender after latching onto Rendell’s knockdown on the edge of the penalty area. Then, Taylor let fly with a ferocious left-footed effort from outside the box, which Lewis Adams saved low to his right.
Taylor was brought down in the inside-right channel as he took on defenders on his approach towards the Slimbridge box, but as the ball popped out to Seddon in space on the right wing, the Referee waved play on. Seddon’s cross eluded both Rendell and Jake Adams as they closed in on the Slimbridge goal. When play stopped, Ben Prictor was shown the yellow card for the foul on Taylor, the Referee possibly taking a few previous transgressions from The Swans' left-back into account.
Myron Turner was substituted in the 62nd minute, with Ben Hands coming on to replace him. Totton defender Luke Hallett threaded a precise through-ball into the inside-right channel for Taylor to run onto, but Lewis Adams read the situation well and closed the angle before Taylor could capitalise.
A sliding block by Jacob Geddes at the near post prevented a cross shot from Jake Adams piling more misery on the Slimbridge defence, as the visitors struggled to clear their defensive lines. Then, at the other end, a bodycheck from Kennedy put a premature end to Mbunga’s forward charge through the middle. Before the free-kick could be taken, Swans manager Tom Speers withdrew midfielder Levi Francis in favour of James Sunley. When the match resumed, Mbunga curled his free-kick harmlessly over the crossbar.
NOSEBLEED TERRITORY: AFC Totton centre-back Luke Hallett leads an attacking foray into the Slimbridge half during the Southern League Div.1 South encounter at the Snows Stadium.
Totton continued to dominate possession; some of their football throughout midfield and spreading the play wide into attacking areas was impressive and refreshingly decisive, but a tendency to overhit crosses and key passes remained, with Read and Taylor both giving their attempts to deliver to teammates in the middle too much heft when they had the time and space to pick out their man.
On a generally overcast afternoon, there had been intermittent wind and rain since an hour prior to kick-off, and as the wind kicked up again mid-way through the second half, Kennedy brought the ball out of defence and exchanged passes with Jake Adams, before trying to play substitute Harvey Woods into a shooting position but the Saints-loanee was crowded out by defenders.
James Sunley became the fourth Slimbridge player to have his name taken by the Referee for a foul on Read, 30 yards from goal, after a succession of neat passes by The Stags to work themselves out of a tight area on the right of defence and into an attacking pose on the left flank within a few seconds. Taylor took the free-kick but Hallett was given offside - or possibly flagged up for pushing - when he headed the ball back across the penalty area from the far side.
Luke Hallett made amends in the 77th minute, though, when his clipped through-ball from the half-way line picked out the run of Jake Adams in the penalty area. As defenders and goalkeeper converged upon him, Adams positioned himself between them to bring the ball down on his chest, before he was shoved to the ground by his namesake in the Slimbridge goal. The Referee pointed to the penalty spot and Scott RENDELL converted nonchalantly, despite a deflection off Lewis Adams’s foot as he dived the wrong way to make it 3-0 to AFC Totton.
THE SUNBURNT ASSASSIN STRIKES AGAIN: Scott Rendell scores his second goal of the game from the penalty spot after Jake Adams was shoved over in the box.
Ben Jefford was given a warm ovation from the crowd and a hearty handshake from his manager as he departed the pitch to make way for Yemi Odubade. Then, Harvey Woods gave a brief cameo of what he is all about, hassling first a defender and then the goalkeeper into making an error that presented Scott Rendell with a golden opportunity to complete his hat-trick, the outstretched foot of a Slimbridge defender somehow lifting the ball over the top for a corner. Taylor and Read subsequently worked their magic on the left, Taylor driving in a low cross-shot that Lewis Adams had to turn away with his foot.
BIG BEN: Defender Ben Jefford made a welcome return to Southern League Div.1 South action after a lengthy injury lay-off with an impressive shift against Slimbridge at the Snows Stadium.
Carter intercepted an attempted clearance and played Woods into the box, to the left of the penalty spot. But as he nicked the ball past his marker, he couldn’t dart around the other side of the defender quickly enough to beat keeper Lewis Adams to the ball.
Jake Adams pounced on a misplaced pass by Sunley to cross the half-way line with attacking intent for The Stags, a situation Sunley dealt with by fouling him and conceding another free-kick, as the second-half sub ran the gauntlet of the Referee’s patience and a potential red card.
Hat-trick hunting centre-forward Scott Rendell couldn’t believe his luck in the 86th minute when, first, Jack Seddon got free at the right-wing byline to cross into the danger area for The Stags. Jake Adams brought the ball down beyond the far post and teed up Rendell for a shot that bounced back off the left-hand upright. Jake Adams immediately regathered possession and played the ball square to Rendell in the middle again, who swiped it against the same post a second time.
With the ball at his feet, AFC Totton goalkeeper Lewis Noice picked out Yemi Odubade in space on the right-wing touchline. He advanced down the wing and then pulled the ball back for Ethan Taylor, who shaped to shoot but, uncharacteristically, scuffed his effort to leave Lewis Adams with a routine save. The match ended with Jake Adams leading another raid on the Slimbridge goal, only to be stopped in his tracks by whistled confirmation that the three minutes of indicated stoppage time had transpired.
After the match, AFC Totton manager Jimmy Ball (pictured) said:
“I thought we were excellent, today. I’m really pleased with the way we dominated the ball throughout the game. We kept another clean sheet - that’s only two goals conceded in seven games - and we found our shooting boots to put us in the driving seat early on.
“We created plenty of chances, as we have been doing all season. We should probably have scored more, it could have been 5-0 at half-time, and we hit the post four times in the game. We are very, very close to being a very good side at the moment. But we have to keep working hard to go on improving, to take more of those chances we create.
“Harvey Woods showed some good movement and got into dangerous areas for us. He didn’t see a lot of the ball but I liked what I saw, and I’m sure he’ll come into it a bit more as we go.
“Larkhall Athletic away next week will be another tough one. Nobody should be fooled by their current league position this early in the season. We know what they’re about and how they’ll approach it. They are a good club with a strong team, and we’re going to have to work very hard to match them and then take our chances when they come. I’m looking forward to it - should be a good game.”
NEXT UP: LARKHALL ATHLETIC vs AFC TOTTON
Southern League Div.1 South | Matchday 07
Plain Ham | Saturday 22 October 2022 | Kick-Off 3:00pm
By Ben Rochey-Adams
Images courtesy of Craig Hobbs Photography