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

Monday 11 Mar 2024 | Snows Stadium, Salisbury Road, Totton | Att: 380


AFC TOTTON                                 3
Joan Luque 14mins; Scott Rendell 34mins;
Luke Hallett 56mins

AFC BOURNEMOUTH               1
Dominic Sadi 70mins

AFC TOTTON OVERCAME an energetic, incisive AFC Bournemouth Development Squad to book their place in the Final of the Servio Hampshire Senior Cup for the first time since 2012 with an impressive and entertaining 3-1 Semi-Final victory at the Snows Stadium on Monday (11 March 2024).

With the effects of Saturday’s arduous slog of a football match at Tiverton Town still lingering in the limbs of some players, Jimmy Ball recalled Luke Hallett to central defence in place of Joe Oastler. Jordan Ragguette returned at left-back, having sat out the two previous games. Luke Bennett started in midfield and Joan Luque Prados, who missed the Tiverton trip with flu, also returned. Tony Lee was named among the substitutes, together with versatile full-back Leo Taylor, who is dual-registered with Hamble Club this season.

Bournemouth midfielder Ben Winterburn, who spent the early part of the current season on loan at the Snows Stadium, missed out due to injury. Lewis Brown, who also spent time with The Stags this season, began at No.4. Goalkeeper Mack Allan, Jimmy Ball’s nephew who played two games for Totton in the Southern League Division One South at the end of last season, was named on The Cherries’ bench. Bournemouth’s No.11 was Karlos Gregory, who is currently on loan at Sholing but eligible to represent The Cherries in the Hampshire Senior Cup with The Boatmen having withdrawn from this season’s competition at the Second Round stage without kicking a ball.

AFC-Totton-badge.pngAFC TOTTON
Starting Line-Up

13.  Tommy REID
2.  Benny READ
6.  Luke HALLETT
15.  Sam MAGRI
3.  Jordan RAGGUETTE
5.  Charlie KENNEDY
16.  Luke BENNETT
11.  Matty BURROWS
9.  Scott RENDELL (Capt.)
10.  Ethan TAYLOR
4.  Owen PELHAM
8.  Adam TOMASSO
14.  Leo TAYLOR
18.  Tony LEE
19.  Zidan AKERS

AFC Bournemouth kicked-off, attacking towards the Aldi construction site while wearing their traditional home kit of red-and-black stripes, while Totton wore their by now familiar cup kit of all-white with blue trim. The match began at a pace, with the visitors demonstrating their technical ability to pass the ball along the ground quickly, players working in combinations of three and four in an attempt to pull the Totton midfield and defence out of shape. But, while The Stags had some difficulty in containing overloads down their left-hand side, they maintained their defensive discipline while spotting and exploiting opportunities to attack.

Totton pressed high when they had the chance, Matty Burrows often being the one to trigger the press by buzzing around left-back Charlie Osborne, while Scott Rendell took responsibility for closing down captain Max Kinsey. The young Bournemouth players were quite adept at moving the ball through the press and out to the flanks, though, so Totton had to keep their wits about them.

In addition to Kinsey, who conducted much of The Cherries’ play from central defence, the movement of midfielder Dominic Sadi and his willingness to come deep to collect the ball, served to pose problems for Totton. Right-back Finn Tonks was an ever-willing runner down the flank, his first raid resulting in a cross that Magri turned away. Bournemouth quickly regained possession and tried to attack on the opposite wing, where Benny Read and Luke Hallett closed down access to the Totton box.

A dangerous, searching ball into the inside-left channel was cleared into touch by Hallett. Totton managed to defend the throw-in, moving the ball forward to the centre-circle from where Rendell fed it wide to Joan Luque, with a counter-attacking opportunity very much on. But the Spaniard then played a blind pass back into the centre, allowing Lewis Brown to take possession and forcing Totton to fall back into their defensive shape.

Rendell prompted Totton’s next attack by releasing a lively looking Burrows on the right, but the winger ran straight into Osborne just as he was gathering speed on his way to the penalty area. Then, Sadi and Tonks combined again to attack from the Bournemouth right, the latter sending in a low cross which Magri turned away, Hallett blocking a subsequent follow-up shot.

Luque received a pass that enabled him to attack the left side of the visitors’ penalty area, beating Tonks with a clever trick before tip-toeing his way along the byline until Kinsey took the ball away. Going the other way, confusion as to which player Luque should be marking or closing down encouraged Sadi to frequently relocate from central midfield to the Bournemouth right, helping to create overloads that resulted in opportunities for Tonks to race down the wing. Kinsey pinged a precision pass that Tonks latched on to, before pulling the ball back to Sadi whose square pass into the D presented Karlos Gregory with a chance, which he blazed over the crossbar.

After an evenly-matched opening, Totton took the lead on 14 minutes. Rendell received a diagonal pass from Benny Read on the right, and fed Burrows’ run into the inside-right channel. The winger took on his marker and squared, low across the six-yard box, where Rendell arrived to apply the finish. Defender Archie Harris managed to divert the ball but only as far as Joan LUQUE who took advantage of the open goal to register his fourth AFC Totton goal.

Joan Luque Prados-4_AFC Totton vs Gosport Borough_SLPDS-26_Sat27Jan2024.jpg
OPENING GOAL: Joan Luque got the ball rolling with AFC Totton's first goal in the Servio Hampshire Senior Cup Semi-Final against AFC Bournemouth at the Snows Stadium.

Read and Rendell tried to spring Burrows in down the right again, but Bournemouth intercepted and exploited the space vacated by Read to attack down their left wing. A cross was whipped into the Totton box but there was nobody in red-and-black to attack the ball. Then, Burrows dribbled infield along the edge of the box and switched the play to the opposite side, from where Luque’s first time cross arced just out of Rendell’s reach.

Kinsey tried to send Tonks flying down the Bournemouth right, again, but Ragguette read it well and intercepted. Then, Tommy Reid’s long drop-kick down the middle of the pitch was flicked on by Rendell to send Luke Bennett sprinting after it. Osborne passed back to his goalkeeper, Callan McKenna, who nonchalantly cleared before Bennett slammed into him and sent him crashing to the deck for a rather obvious free-kick.

Luque and Ethan Taylor closed ranks to dispossess Brown in the centre-circle, before Taylor sprinted on ahead towards inside-left while Luque carried the ball forward. When Luque slipped the pass beyond the defenders, Taylor kept his feet to ride a partial collision with Tonks to go one-on-one with McKenna, who diverted Taylor’s angled shot into the air before Harris headed it out for a right-wing corner. Taylor crossed to the near post, where Rendell flicked on across goal, but nobody was able to connect at the far post.

Magri stumbled and was caught in possession about 30 yards from his own goal by Bournemouth’s Jonny Stuttle, but Hallett came across to remedy the situation before the forward could line-up his shot. Then, Luque dropped back to help Ragguette out of a tight situation on the touchline, before picking out Taylor’s run down the left flank. His cross was blocked and rebounded out for a throw, from which he regained possession and whipped in a cross for Rendell to attack. The ball was knocked down by a defender to present Charlie Kennedy with a chance that he fired narrowly wide of the left-hand post from about 22 yards. The Referee awarded a corner, but Luque’s cross drifted over the far post and out of play, much to his own audible and visible frustration.

Kennedy’s strong tackle in midfield kept Finn Tonks honest. Then, Harris made a well-timed interception to prevent Burrows getting in from Rendell’s through-ball.

Hallett headed away Brown’s cross, before Bournemouth shifted the ball to their left. Osborne checked on to his right foot and arced in a cross that was a fraction too high for Balraj Landa, who nevertheless leapt well having escaped attention near the penalty spot.

Tommy Reid pulled off an outstanding save low to his left, when The Cherries mounted an attack from their right and across the edge of the penalty area, where Dominic Sadi took a touch and aimed his left-footed effort towards the bottom-right corner, only to be denied by the rangy on-loan Brighton & Hove Albion goalkeeper. From the corner, Toure Williams somehow managed to receive a low pass in unmarked territory just outside the Totton box, but his low drive hit a forest of white bestockinged legs and was cleared.

Becoming increasingly influential in the Bournemouth midfield, Dominic Sadi glided past Luque and found Stuttle in the middle. A sharp one-two enabled Stuttle to get through the centre of the Totton defence. Reid sprung off his line, forcing the striker to rush his shot, and he only succeeded in steering the ball past the left-hand post, with Magri also applying pressure. Reid’s subsequent goal-kick was flicked on by Rendell, bringing McKenna out of his goal to kick clear before the rapidly-approaching Burrows could nick it past him.

Bournemouth fell further behind on 34 minutes, when they tried to attack down their left wing. Benny Read won the ball and played a pass which rebounded back to him off an opponent. He reacted by charging through two challenges in close proximity, to find himself advancing upon the Bournemouth box at inside-right. Rendell made a run off the shoulder of Harris, and Read’s low forward pass was perfectly weighted for Scott RENDELL to sweep under the on-rushing figure of McKenna for his 25th goal of the season.

Scott Rendell_Joe Oastler_AFC Totton vs Gosport Borough_SLPDS-26_Sat27Jan2024.jpg
TWENTY-FIVE AND COUNTING: Captain Scott Rendell doubled The Stags' lead with his 25th strike of the season in all competitions.

Totton looked like they were enjoying themselves. Taylor led another raid from the left flank, rolling the ball back for Ragguette to cross. Rendell took control with his back to goal and fed Burrows, coming in from the right to blast a shot that Harris did well to block. Then, Taylor took the ball off Gregory in the centre-circle, who responded by grappling him to the ground.

Magri interrupted a well-constructed move from Sadi, Tonks and Williams. But Sadi was subsequently afforded too much room on the ball, and he released Tonks to attack down the right. Ragguette got across in time to make a challenge, but as soon as he went down, his arm was raised to indicate he was in pain and, after a lengthy stoppage during which he received treatment, he had to be helped off the pitch by two members of The Stags’ backroom team. Adam Tomasso came on to replace him, with Ethan Taylor initially operating as emergency left-back.

Consequently, there were seven minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half. Totton won a free-kick midway inside Bournemouth’s half. The ball into the area was knocked away as far as Rendell in the D, whose pass to the right set Burrows dribbling into the box before his shot was deflected, looping back to Rendell who saw his own effort deflected wide by Osborne. Magri connected with Taylor’s corner but couldn’t direct his header, sending it harmlessly wide to the right.

Ethan Taylor’s preference for taking on opponents rather than shelling the ball up the wing almost cost him when he lost possession in his temporary left-back position. Bournemouth fed a dangerous cross into the box, which Magri turned away, and then posed several questions from different angles around the area, but Totton held firm.

Centre-back Kinsey to roving right-back Tonks continued to be a familiar way forward for the Bournemouth youngsters, but Magri frequently intercepted their low deliveries into the centre. On the stroke of half-time, a promising counter-attacking opportunity presented itself for Totton when Rendell collected the ball in the centre-circle and laid off to Luque, with Bennett itching to be sent clear with open acreage ahead. But Luque held on to the ball a fraction too long and Bennett’s chance was prematurely quashed by the offside flag of the Referee’s Assistant on the Salisbury Road side of the ground.

AFC TOTTON                              2

Young midfielder Owen Pelham, who won rave reviews with his goalscoring display in last week’s Southampton Senior Cup victory over Folland Sports, was sent on for the second half, with Benny Read coming off. Adam Tomasso shifted to right-back, Luke Bennett relocated to left-back to allow Ethan Taylor to return to his attacking role, and Pelham slotted into central midfield.

A free-kick at the left-wing touchline, level with the edge of Bournemouth’s penalty area, presented Totton’s first opening of the second half. Bennett delivered his cross to the far post where Burrows volleyed across goal but The Cherries cleared before anyone else in white could convert from close range. Then, Luque progressed to the left-wing byline and pulled back to the penalty spot, but his fellow attackers had all made the run to the six-yard line, allowing the visitors to clear their lines.

Ethan Taylor picked up a deserved yellow card for a high tackle in midfield. Magri, who was easily the most physically imposing figure on the pitch against opponents comprised of the Dorset club’s U18s and U23s, headed away comfortably. When the visitors did manage to win an aerial challenge in midfield, Tonks raced down the right flank and fizzed a low cross into the centre, but it was too strong for Stuttle to connect or redirect towards goal.

Charlie Osborne’s answer to the problems being posed by Matty Burrows was to pull the winger to the ground, to earn himself a yellow card and Totton a free-kick close to the right corner of the penalty area. Ethan Taylor floated his curling cross to drop neatly at the far side of the six-yard box where Magri met it on the volley, but he could only drive it into the advertising hoarding behind the left-hand post.

Magri was involved again shortly after, stepping out of the defensive line to intercept a pass from Bournemouth’s right-back area. Burrows and Taylor both spotted their opportunity to break into space on the right wing, and Magri clipped a high diagonal over the former to land at the feet of the latter. Taylor took his cue to redirect his run towards the penalty spot while Burrows steered the ball further wide and curled in a cross that was a little too high for Taylor, who leapt well and headed towards goal but couldn’t get over it to take full advantage of the chance, instead sending the ball looping beyond the right post.

Totton made it three-nil on 56 minutes. With the play located in the area between the two dug-outs, Taylor switched the ball to the left flank with a high arcing pass to Luque, who brought it under control and advanced into the left side of the area, shaking off Tonks and driving in a low shot that McKenna deflected wide with his legs. Luque’s left-wing corner picked out Luke HALLETT at the far post, and the spring-heeled centre-back got above his marker to head down with a powerful effort that bounced between Magri and Rendell on its way past McKenna. It was Hallett’s fourth goal of the season; his second in the Hampshire Senior Cup.

Luke Hallett-5_AFC Totton vs Salisbury_SLPDS-2_Sat12Aug2023.jpg
HALLETT'S MALLET: Former Forest Green Rovers defender Luke Hallett headed home his fourth AFC Totton goal of the season, surpassing his total for 2022/23 and confirming AFC Totton's participation in this year's Servio Hampshire Senior Cup Final.

Osborne and Landa muscled their way past Burrows to make progress down Bournemouth’s left flank, but soon came unstuck when they ran within reach of Adam Tomasso. Then, Taylor passed square to Hallett close to the half-way line, and his high diagonal to the left wing put Luque in again. He got to the byline and pulled back to the penalty spot, but again, there was nobody in a white shirt suitably positioned to take advantage.

Owen Pelham won a midfield tussle that sent both him and his opponent to ground, the Referee allowing play to continue when Kennedy took over by charging into the penalty area. He tried to square to Rendell on the penalty spot, but Kinsey intervened with a well-timed clearance.

Totton went to sleep while defending a corner from Bournemouth’s right. The ball was rolled back to the corner of the penalty area where Lewis Brown went for a first-time shot, blasting high over the bar.

Scott Rendell came off to be replaced by Tony Lee, with Charlie Kennedy taking the captain’s armband. Lee was soon involved, knocking on Tomasso’s forward pass to Burrows on the right. The winger took the ball wide, fronted up to Osborne then nicked the ball past the full-back, darted to the byline and centred. A half-clearance presented possession back to Totton, who shifted the ball to the left for Luque to supply to the near post where Pelham arrived but couldn’t get enough on his header. The ball was cleared and, in his eagerness to win it back, Charlie Kennedy committed a foul near the half-way line to become the third name in the Referee’s notebook.

Three goals to the good, Totton were content to fill up the middle of the pitch and rely on the counter-attacking threat of their forwards. Bournemouth had already demonstrated their ability to pass the ball quickly in confined spaces, but began to find themselves bogged down in areas where the white shirts - filled by larger, stronger bodies - outnumbered them. Only while Hallett was stricken with cramp did enough space open up for The Cherries to take advantage, the impressive Sadi beating Taylor to a loose ball and driving at the Totton defence before laying off to the right for Tonks to deliver across the six-yard box, where Reid reacted sharply and bravely to smother Stuttle’s close-range effort, deservedly benefitting from a fortunate rebound that took the ball out for a goal-kick.

Bournemouth reduced the deficit in the 70th minute. Hallett brought down Sadi just outside a crowded Totton penalty area, resulting in a free-kick shortly to the right of the D. Tommy Reid lined up a five-man defensive wall but Dominic SADI - who bagged a brace in his team’s last outing, a 5-0 thrashing of Colchester United U21s on Friday night - fired a low shot around the left side of the wall and into the bottom corner, beyond Reid’s outstretched hand.

Ethan Taylor’s younger brother Leo then stepped off the bench to replace Joan Luque. Enthused by their goal, Bournemouth attacked again down the right wing and won a throw-in. The ball into the box posed a threat at the near post, until Magri nullified it with some neat control to elude Stuttle and clear to the flank. Then, a foul by Tomasso gave the visitors another free-kick that fell to Harris in the middle, Kennedy thrusting his body in the way to block the shot. Before Totton could complete the clearance, a trip by Leo Taylor put The Stags on the back foot again. Sadi played the free-kick short to allow substitute Kian Tydeman to cross from the left with Cherries queuing up across the six-yard box, but Totton got bodies in the way and managed to hack the ball away.

Matty Burrows-1_AFC Totton vs Salisbury_SLPDS-2_Sat12Aug2023.jpg
GOOD SHIFT: Winger Matty Burrows continued his return from long-term injury with an industrious contribution to AFC Totton's Semi-Final success against AFC Bournemouth.

Burrows had the chance to counter-attack but appeared to lack the energy to race clear of the last man in his usual style. When Bournemouth came forward again, a neat exchange of short, sharp passes, culminating in a back-heel from Stuttle, opened up the middle of Totton’s defence, but Tomasso slid in with an impeccably-timed tackle to hook the ball off the attacker’s foot before he could threaten Tommy Reid’s goal.

Leo Taylor intercepted a pass and played Tomasso in down the right wing. The Totton Terrier bombed forward before passing the torch to Burrows with a short infield pass, but the winger miss-controlled on his way to the byline and the ball got away from him. Burrows’ race was run by the time substitute Baylin Johnson brought him down close to the half-way line, and he was given a well-earned rest by being replaced by Zidan Akers.

Ethan Taylor’s attempt to play Pelham into an attacking position was scuppered by a defensive clearance. He was no doubt grateful to see his younger brother make a crucial tackle to halt Bournemouth’s progress with an attack that was just starting to gather momentum.

The visitors’ lack of aerial prowess in forward areas was underlined when the tall figure of Reid easily plucked a high cross out of the sky unchallenged. Although the game became a bit more end-to-end than Jimmy Ball might have preferred at that stage, Bournemouth struggled to create the kind of chance to seriously threaten their hosts’ ambitions of reaching the Hampshire Senior Cup Final for the first time in 12 years.

Bournemouth shot wide from a left-wing corner, before the Fourth Official indicated five minutes of stoppage time. Owen Pelham showed incredible determination to close down two Bournemouth players at once, disrupting a potential attack by knocking the ball out of play near half-way. A high cross from the visitors’ right was met by Brown, whose header fell to Magri. He sliced his clearance into the air but Tomasso was on-hand to chase the ball out of the box.

A minute later, Tomasso’s cross-field pass found Ethan Taylor, who was tripped to earn a free-kick just to the left of the Bournemouth box. Despite being in a prime position to cross into the penalty area, Totton didn’t send anyone into the box, instead allowing their No.10 to take the ball towards the left-wing corner flag, before the Referee’s final whistle confirmed that AFC Totton will contest the 2024 Servio Hampshire Senior Cup Final against the winners of the other Semi-Final between AFC Portchester and Southampton U21s, who meet at Wicor Recreation Ground on Tuesday 26 March. The Final is scheduled to take place at Aldershot Town’s Recreation Ground, on Friday 10 May.

Watch Jimmy Ball's Post-Match Interview

AFC Totton's Fixtures 2023/24

Southern League Premier Division South | Matchday#32 | The Meadow, Amy Lane, Chesham, Buckinghamshire HP5 1NE | Saturday 16 March 2024 | Kick-Off at 3:00pm

Come support The Stags - Purchase your Coach Ticket online in advance (Match Tickets available on the day at the venue)

By Ben Rochey-Adams

Images courtesy of Craig Hobbs Photography

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