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Saturday 06 April 2024 | Snows Stadium, Totton, Southampton | Att: 1,253


AFC TOTTON                                  5
Tony Lee 5mins; 28mins; 61mins
Joan Luque 54mins; Ethan Taylor 65mins

TIVERTON TOWN                       0

TONY LEE’S HAT-TRICK INSPIRED AFC TOTTON to an emphatic 5-0 home win over relegation-threatened Tiverton Town at the Snows Stadium on Saturday (06 April 2024), as The Stags maintained their challenge for a place in the Southern League Premier Division South Promotion Play-Offs.

The visitors played much of the game with just 10 men, after midfielder River Allen was sent-off for a foul on Lee midway through the first half.

Luke Bennett was the only name missing from the starting XI that beat Walton & Hersham in the previous match on Easter Monday. Marcel McIntosh lined up at right-back and Ethan Taylor was recalled.

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

1.  Joshua GOULD
17.  Marcel McINTOSH
6.  Luke HALLETT
7.  Joseph OASTLER
14.  Ben JEFFORD
5.  Charlie KENNEDY
8.  Adam TOMASSO
10.  Ethan TAYLOR
9.  Scott RENDELL (Capt.)
18.  Tony LEE
4.  Owen PELHAM
15.  Sam MAGRI
16.  Luke BENNETT
19.  Perri IANDOLO
20.  Ashley CLARKE

With blustery winds swirling around the Snows Stadium, the visitors got the game underway wearing their usual home kit of all-yellow with black trim and features, while Totton were in their usual all-blue with white trim. Tiverton threatened first, when River Allen received the ball on the left wing and drifted infield to try a shot that Charlie Kennedy smothered at source.

The Stags went ahead after just five minutes. Scott Rendell fed a through-ball down the middle of the pitch for Ethan Taylor to drive in a low shot from the edge of the penalty area. Zak Baker got down to his left-hand side and parried the ball into the path of the incoming Tony LEE who fired the rebound high into the net.

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HAT-TRICK HERO: Tony Lee bagged three goals to steer The Stags to victory at the Snows Stadium.

Totton were soon on the attack, again. The ball was turned away but Adam Tomasso nicked it back mid-way inside the Tiverton half and played a one-two with Lee, before being called up for a foul on the edge of the box. Then, good defending by Dylan Jones headed Marcel McIntosh off at the pass, as he tried to steal into the right side of the area from Lee’s well-hit cross-field pass. McIntosh then surprised the whole ground with a snapshot from distance when he spotted Baker off his line, but it drifted over the bar.

The swirling wind got the better of Luke Hallett, holding the ball up in the air and dragging him out of position to ensure he got his head on the ball. But he only succeeded in nodding it straight to in-form Tivvy striker Joe Parker, who stole in goal-side of Ben Jefford but couldn’t pull the trigger quickly enough to prevent Joshua Gould coming out to smother the chance.

McIntosh forced a throw-in close to the right-wing corner flag for Totton. Tomasso took it and received the ball back to feet, enabling him to cross to the far side, where Joan Luque retrieved and fed the ball into the middle. Rendell dummied on the edge of the six-yard box, but the ball was hacked away before Lee could strike. From the clearance, Parker briefly got the better of Joe Oastler, until a bobble came to Totton’s rescue.

Rendell tried to put Lee into the penalty area, but his through-ball was belted clear by Baker. The goalkeeper’s long kick bounced in the Totton area, where Gould came out to claim it, despite a firm shove from Parker, for which the Divvy striker was penalised.

Tiverton right-back Niall Thompson posed a threat running with the ball at his feet on the wing, although on this occasion he directed the ball behind and then ran into the advertising hoarding, leaving him in need of treatment from the physio while play continued without him.

Calum Thomas hooked the ball over his own crossbar to prevent McIntosh’s cross from deep on the Totton right finding its intended targets of Lee and Rendell towards the far post. Luque’s corner was headed away and Tomasso was judged to have fouled Alex Fletcher, as the on-loan Bath City striker tried to initiate a counter-attack.

Rendell got the ball under control in the centre-circle and played McIntosh into space on the right. With a clear run on goal, McIntosh appeared to struggle to get the ball to sit down under his possession. By the time he did, Dylan Jones had got back into his defensive position, and the momentum was lost. The over-worked Jones did well to prevent McIntosh darting into the box from the right flank, as the teenager brought down Hallett’s long pass down the wing to attack the Tiverton box. The clearance was intercepted by Taylor, who played a one-two with Lee, but Dylan Jones was there again to stab the ball away before Rendell could squeeze in a snapshot.

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GET SHIRTY: On-loan Norwich City player Marcel McIntosh gets to grips with Tiverton Town defender Dylan Jones during AFC Totton's 5-0 win in the Southern League Premier Division South.

Tiverton were making use of the blustery conditions by sending high passes into the Totton box. Oastler managed to keep his eyes on the prize to head away from Parker. Then, Hallett got caught under the flight of the ball with Fletcher snapping around his heals. The two players collided at the right corner of the box, from Totton’s perspective, and Fletcher went down. The Referee pointed to the penalty spot. Joe Parker, who came into this game having scored six of Tiverton’s last seven goals, stepped up and struck the spot-kick towards the left. Josh Gould reacted brilliantly to parry the ball high into the air and when it came down, Tomasso forced it out of play on the Salisbury Road side of the ground. Jefford cleared the throw-in at the near post.

Having almost given up a goal, Totton were two-nil up within two minutes. Rendell received the ball on the edge of the Tiverton box and played a short, forward pass to put Taylor in at inside-right. Despite being closely tracked by a defender, Taylor clipped a beautiful ball across the edge of the six-yard box, which took Baker out of the equation and left Tony LEE with an open goal, which he gobbled up with a diving header.

Oastler cut out a cross from Thompson at the expense of the corner on the Tiverton right. It was played short to the near corner of the penalty area, where Allen collected, shuffled to his left foot to throw Jefford off balance, and curled a cross-shot just over Fletcher’s head and wide of the far post. That proved to be Allen’s final contribution to the game, as he was then sent-off for a reckless sliding challenge on Tony Lee, just in front of the AFC Totton dug-out. The Tivvy management responded straight away by bringing Alex Fletcher off to be replaced by Carlo Garside.

Taylor had the ball on the right-hand touchline and swung a high cross to Lee beyond the far post. Lee headed back across goal towards Rendell but before he could convert the chance, Thomas stepped in and calmly chested the ball back to his goalkeeper.

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LET FLY: Ethan Taylor takes aim at the Tiverton Town goal.

Jevan Wright then needed treatment after colliding with Luque. Lee headed against the post from another Taylor cross from deep, although the offside flag would have ruled it out, anyway. Then, Lee was pulled up for a push on the considerably larger figure of Joshua Jones - once a match-winning goalscorer at the Snows Stadium for Larkhall Athletic - inside the Tiverton box, as he tried to latch on to a high ball through the middle.

Wright couldn’t find enough room to work in with Jefford breathing down his neck. Then, when the visitors won a free-kick on their left, mid-way inside the Totton half, Joshua Jones got his head to the ball but could only direct it wide of the far post.

Hallett intercepted a pass on the right of the Totton defence, and passed further wide to McIntosh, whose forward pass set Taylor away down the wing to win a throw-in high up the pitch. From it, McIntosh got to the byline and fizzed in a low cross that Joshua Jones flicked behind for a corner, with Lee lurking over his shoulder. Luque crossed from the left-wing corner quadrant and Rendell headed on at the front post, but it was cleared. The Stags forced another corner just before the break, but Luque’s low delivery was repelled.

AFC TOTTON                                           2
TIVERTON TOWN                                0

Totton got the second half underway, and Hallett soon played McIntosh in down the right wing, although he was crowded out before he could deliver into the penalty area. Within a minute, though, McIntosh wrapped his long right leg around Dylan Jones to keep the ball in play at the touchline, before his cross-shot hit the near post upright and bounced behind for a goal-kick.

Luque and Taylor combined on the left flank to create an opening from which to feed Lee in the middle, but as the hat-trick hunting striker darted in front of his marker, he took a heavy first touch that bounced the ball through to Baker in the Tiverton goal.

After a lull in proceedings, Totton’s third goal came in the 54th minute. McIntosh made his presence felt on the right wing, and won a free-kick for having his shirt pulled. Taylor took it by rolling the ball along the edge of the penalty area, where Joan LUQUE was afforded the time and space to take a touch and then drive in a shot that took a deflection to lift it out of Baker’s reach and into the back of the net.

Tiverton rallied. Wright attacked the right-wing byline and crossed for Parker, whose glancing header flew wide of the left-hand post. Then, Dylan Jones was penalised for hand-ball about 25 yards from the Tiverton goal. The Referee appeared to pull the red card from his pocket, but then thought better of actually showing it to the player and reducing Tiverton to nine men. The Totton players protested, led by Tony Lee, that the striker would have been clean through on goal and that Jones was the last man, but the senior match official was unmoved. From the free-kick, Luque drove his shot into the defensive wall.

Just past the hour mark, Totton went four up. Josh Gould hit a long, cross-field pass to Luque on the Totton left. With Thomas sitting deeper than his defensive teammates, Taylor was able to spring the offside trap to encroach into the box at inside-left before squaring to Tony LEE, who used his left foot to complete the perfect hat-trick.

Joshua Gould_AFC Totton vs Tiverton Town_SLPDS-37_Sat06Apr2024.jpg
BRING IT IN: Josh Gould and Joan Luque celebrate their part in creating Tony Lee's third goal of the game and Totton's fourth.

Scott Rendell inexplicably failed to get on the scoresheet moments later, when Lee found himself in on goal again from McIntosh’s angled pass from the right. Everyone in the ground expected Lee to strike for his fourth goal of the game, but instead he squared it for Rendell, who got his feet muddled up and couldn’t trouble Baker.

However, in the next phase of play, Hallett watched another swirling ball drop out of the sky, finding McIntosh on the right. His straight pass into the inside-right had Lee running beyond the dishevelled Tiverton defence once again. This time, with Baker coming out to narrow the angle, Lee slipped the ball infield for Ethan TAYLOR to roll it into the empty net.

With his team five goals up with 25 minutes to go, Jimmy Ball made all three of his permitted substitutions at once. Joe Oastler, Ethan Taylor and Tony Lee all came off the pitch; Sam Magri, Perri Iandolo and debutant AFC Bournemouth loanee Ashley Clarke came on for The Stags.

Clarke was immediately in the action, receiving the ball in space at inside-right. With Totton’s Assistant Manager Paul Masters urging the youngster to “Get at him!”, Clarke showed some neat footwork to drag the ball infield of his marker and let fly with a left-footed shot that soared narrowly past the near post and into the side-netting.

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NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: AFC Bournemouth loanee Ashley Clarke came off the bench to make his AFC Totton debut.

His team may have been five goals up, but Tomasso was giving up nothing with a strong tackle to win the ball back in the centre-circle, as Totton were briefly exposed to a potential counter-attack. McIntosh then struck a wild effort from distance that cleared the safety netting behind the goal and landed in the construction site that will soon give way to a new Aldi store.

Iandolo linked up with McIntosh to work himself into a shooting opportunity, his angled drive being deflected past the left-hand post. From the corner, Totton kept the ball around the box but couldn’t find space for a shot. Clarke’s cross from the right took a deflection on its way to the luckless Rendell, who headed into the arms of Baker.

Tiverton took a corner on their right. Gould missed the ball with his attempted punch, and when it was hooked back towards goal, Tomasso chased back to head clear from the goal line. Tiverton tried to keep the pressure on, but a foul on Hallett eventually allowed Totton to regroup.

Tiverton soon got in again, though, with a chance they really should have converted. Substitute Alfie Moulden carried the ball from the right-back position into the middle of the Totton half and slipped a short, angled pass into the path of Dylan Jones, who had the time and space at inside-left to pick his spot in the bottom-right corner but sent his shot narrowly wide, with Gould exposed and at full stretch.

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MIDFIELD MINDER: Charlie Kennedy competes for possession.

Tivvy were getting their second wind. Moulden attacked the right edge of the box and fired in a low, angled shot that Gould parried, wrong-footing Wright who was following up. Hallett managed to scrape the ball clear. Then, Thompson surged forward and fed Dylan Jones for another attempt on goal, which was deflected wide for a corner. Iandolo cleared the cross for Totton.

A promising Totton move involving several players on their right came to nothing, as Iandolo made his run a fraction too soon to trigger the offside flag. Then, during two minutes of added time, Iandolo had a shot charged down. McIntosh took up the loose ball and advanced into the area. Before he could shoot, though, Clarke took the ball off his toe and let fly with an effort of his own that ballooned high and wide, shortly before the Referee called time on an impressive home win for The Stags.

Watch Manager Jimmy Ball’s Post-Match Interview

Watch Tony Lee’s Post-Match Interview

Latest Southern League Premier Division South table

AFC Totton Fixtures 2023/24

Southern League Premier Division South | Matchday#38 | Snows Stadium, Salisbury Road, Totton SO40 2RW | Wednesday 10 April 2024 | Kick-Off at 7:45pm | SAVE MONEY by purchasing Match Tickets online in advance

UNDER-18s GET IN FREE on Wednesday evening; U16s must be accompanied by a paying adult.

By Ben Rochey-Adams

Images courtesy of Tom McKenzie

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