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

Wednesday 25 October 2023 | Snows Stadium, Totton, Southampton | Att: 1,267


AFC TOTTON                                  7
Jordan Chiedozie 2mins; Scott Rendell 51mins (pen), 55mins;
Alfie Stanley 72mins, 81mins; Jordan Ragguette 87mins;
Leon Maloney 90+2mins

DIDCOT TOWN                              1
Ben Putland 15mins

DESPITE TWO EARLY injury-enforced substitutions, Jimmy Ball’s AFC Totton turned on the style with a scintillating second-half display that saw them run riot over relegation-threatened Didcot Town at the Snows Stadium on Wednesday.

AFC-Totton-badge.pngAFC TOTTON
STAGS - Starting XI

1.  Lewis NOICE
2.  Benny READ
6.  Luke HALLETT
15.  Sam MAGRI
7.  Joseph OASTLER
3.  Jordan RAGGUETTE
8.  Adam TOMASSO
17.  Leon MALONEY
9.  Scott RENDELL (Capt.)
12.  Jordan CHIEDOZIE
11.  Matty BURROWS
5.  Charlie KENNEDY
14.  Lewis BROWN
16.  Alfie STANLEY
19.  Owen PELHAM
20.  Remus NIXON

Back in the starting line-up for the first time since the FA Cup Third Round Qualifying win over Berkhamsted, Burrows made an early foray down the right wing and forced a corner. Maloney crossed to the near post and Rendell rose high amongst a cluster of players to flick the ball to the far post where, from about eight yards out, striker Jordan CHIEDOZIE executed an airborne scissor-kick volley to smash the ball across Leigh Bedwell in the Didcot goal and inside the right-hand upright.

Noice got bumped off the ball as he advanced from his line to intercept a high curling cross from Joshua Grant on the Didcot right, but he managed to gather at the second attempt before the visitors could capitalise on the loose ball. When Totton’s No.1 was called into similar action again soon after, he made sure to take the ball first time.

Ragguette did well to win possession back for Totton from his left-back berth, but as he was directing traffic ahead to indicate where he wanted teammates to run, he had the ball taken off him. Didcot, playing in their all-green away strip, had several players in forward positions but were still crowded out via Oastler and Magri’s solid defending.

Read came off worse in a full-blooded challenge that saw him get bodychecked mid-way inside the Totton half. He carried on playing but then Didcot got in down that side, with Burrows going down clutching his shoulder. The ball was pulled back to the No.9 Seth Humphries, who trod on it but was able to keep the move alive. Didcot moved it back out to the left and when the cross came in, Magri appeared to have things under control until his right foot slipped out from under him on the wet surface, leaving Noice exposed and Ben PUTLAND with the simple task of heading home from six yards.

With just 16 minutes on the clock, Jimmy Ball was forced to withdraw both Read and Burrows with their respective injuries and he replaced them with Charlie Kennedy, who went into the right-back slot, and forward Alfie Stanley.

Stanley was denied an early scoring chance by a well-timed defensive header after Maloney and Chiedozie linked up down the left for the latter to cut inside and send a measured chip towards the area in front of the right-hand post that the former Pompey player had darted into. Shortly after, Kennedy announced his own introduction into the game with a late tackle on the left-wing byline, for which he was booked. Putland soon followed him on to the Referee’s naughty list by standing in the way when Tomasso tried to take a quick free-kick from just outside Totton’s box for a push on Rendell.

After the two enforced changes to personnel, Totton got the ball on the ground and started using the wet surace to pass it around with pace and purpose. A deep cross from Kennedy was a fraction too high for Rendell and, as Didcot tried to clear their lines, neat skill on the ball from Grant drew a foul that relieved pressure on the visitors.

Ragguette used his strength to deny Robbie Gallagher passage down the Didcot right wing. Then, Tomasso made a strong tackle just outside the area to get them at bay.

A long ball from Magri enabled Chiedozie to attack from inside-left, winning a corner when his attempted cross was deflected wide. Maloney’s cross was hooked out before it reached Magri. Oastler’s volley from outside the box was wayward.

Hallett’s high diagonal from right to left was instantly brought down by Chiedozie but his pass to Maloney was too strong for the midfielder to capitalise on the dangerous run he had made into the Didcot box. Then, Magri played a pass across the defensive line that forced Hallett to sprint and execute a precise sliding tackle to prevent an opposition forward racing into acres of open grass behind the Totton defence.

Kennedy crossed from deep on the right. Maloney produced a clever back-heeled flick to keep the ball in play beyond the far post, in the process teeing up Chiedozie, whose shot was blocked. As the ball rebouned out to the edge of the area, Tomasso nicked in before the defence could clear to stab narrowly wide of the right-hand post.

Hallett’s incisive forward pass found Kennedy, who in turn fed Stanley on the right touchline. He advanced across the edge of the area, evading two defenders, before his shot took a deflection and bounced up kindly for Bedwell to catch. And Stanley had another effort charged down when Scott Rendell pressed a Didcot defender, knocking the ball into the feet of Maloney who created the half-chance for the striker.

Maloney was tripped just outside the right corner of the area after receiving the ball from a throw-in. Maloney took the free-kick himself, defender Oliver Case headed away. As Didcot tried to launch a counter-attack, Oastler was in quickly to win the ball back in front of the opposition dug-out and release Ragguette to swing in a cross that was headed out.

Totton regathered and came again. Kennedy got to the right byline and cut back for Stanley, who took a touch before he unleashed his shot, giving the defender time to close him and make the crucial block.

Ragguette got forward again to overlap Chiedozie on the left, crossing slightly too high for Tomasso. Kennedy retrieved the ball on the right and fed Stanley as he ran to the byline. His cut back was dummied by Rendell and Oastler blazed over.

Chiedozie, who came to AFC Totton while recovering from long-term injury, showed encouraging signs of an increasing sharpness and mobility, particularly when darting between defenders with short bursts of pace and a deft touch.

Five minutes before half-time, a quick passing move went from Chiedozie to Stanley to Ragguette to Maloney to open up the Didcot defence, the unmarked Stanley exploiting a gap at inside-left to go through on goal before firing over.

Didcot No.9 Seth Humphries managed to progress into the Totton penalty area, until Magri manouvered him off the ball and then took a tumble to earn a free-kick. Then, a strong back-pass from Hallett had Noice belting clear into Salisbury Road to avoid conceding a corner.

A Didcot throw from the opposite flank a couple of minutes later was headed out by Ragguette. The visitors regained the ball and Jenson Wright dribbled several yards until a gap between Totton defenders gave him a sight of goal from 20 yards. His well-struck shot was straight at Lewis Noice, who saved comfortably, shortly before the half-time whistle.


Totton got the second half underway. Kennedy struck a long diagonal from close to the halfway line. Rendell headed down and Chiedozie’s one-two with Maloney enabled him to stride forward and swipe narrowly over the bar from 20 yards.

Rendell almost stole in on goal through the centre until Andre Bromfield hooked the ball away. Moments later, Rendell was dumped unceremoniously on to the wet Snows Stadium turf, where he remained for several seconds until Bedwell kicked the ball out of play. The wounded centre-forward did not need treatment from the physio, but he did engage the Referee in a lengthy conversation about the physical ordeal to which he was being subjected via some of the Didcot defenders’ more agricultural challenges.

Impressive approach play down the right enabled Stanley to centre for Rendell in the middle on 51 minutes, but he missed his kick. The ball was only partially cleared. Maloney received it at inside-right, his ability to twist and turn in close proximity to defenders tying Harley Giles in knots, resulting in a trip and a penalty-kick to Totton, plus a yellow card for Giles. With a confident finish, Scott RENDELL restored The Stags’ lead.

The home side were soon in possession, again, and within four minutes they underlined their dominance with a superb team goal in which every AFC Totton player on the pitch had some part in the build-up. Hallett rolled the ball back to Noice, who played it short to the left for Magri, the former Maltese international defender bringing the ball out from the back and passing across the halfway line. A quick exchange between Chiedozie and Ragguette moved the Didcot players around but with forward channels blocked off, Chiedozie sensibly recycled possession back to his defenders before Oastler switched the play to Kennedy in open space on the right. His pass infield brought Tomasso into the move, and a short back pass to Hallett saw the ball quickly distributed to the left-wing touchline via Magri. Chiedozie controlled midway inside Didcot’s half and dribbled forward, just as Maloney - the only Totton player to not actually touch the ball during the move - dropped back from a more advanced position to create an opening for Stanley to dash into at inside-left. Chiedozie’s threaded pass between four green shirts played Stanley in, the striker slipping his shot under the body of Bedwell as the ‘keeper came sliding out. Adam Learoyd managed to get in the way, the ball clipping his heels as he stumbled, and Scott RENDELL pounced to finish the rebound from six yards to make it 3-1 and to take his personal AFC Totton tally to 50 goals in all competitions since joining in summer 2002.

Gallagher tried to take on Totton defenders on his own, but found himself isolated before being dispossessed. Then, a strong tackle from Oastler near halfway denied Didcot, again.

Chiedozie won a free-kick for a push, shortly before he was substituted to make way for teenaged forward Remus Nixon. The Stags continued to press their opponents in groups of three and four, never letting them settled on the ball long enough to plot meaningful attacks.

Bedwell was shown a yellow card for disputing the Referee’s decision regarding a Totton left-wing corner. He immediately redeemed himself to parry Magri’s fierce shot over the bar, after the defender reacted well to his own blocked header. From the following corner, Stanley got a sight of goal at the back post but his right-footed attempt was charged down.

When Didcot gained yardage in Totton’s half and won a free-kick, they wasted it with a poor delivery that Tomasso booted clear. Then, when Ragguette brought the ball infield from the left-wing touchline, his short pass gave Maloney the chance to take aim from 25 yards but his shot flew over the top.

Kennedy intercepted a Didcot diagonal to stop them getting in down their left, before Maloney’s whipped curling cross had Bedwell diving full-length to punch the ball away. Then, a short corner by Maloney enabled him to regain possession via Stanley and cross to the near post, where Magri headed wide and then put his head in his hands in recognition of a very good chance spurned.

With 18 minutes left, Magri played a long pass from inside his own penalty area, which was headed down by a defender to prevent Nixon getting through on the left wing. Rendell picked up the loose ball in space on the halfway line, and rolled it to Stanley in the middle of the Didcot half. With a defender just off his right shoulder, the striker nicked the ball past him to put it on his right foot before racing through the middle to confront Bedwell in the Didcot goal. 

The goalkeeper came sliding out and from the edge of the box, Alfie STANLEY produced a beautifully measured chip to drop the ball into the left side of the Didcot net.

Oastler took a painful whack to a sensitive area of his body, much to the amusement of the management team in the dug-out. Then, Tomasso and Stanley combined for the latter to cross to the near post; Rendell was beaten to it by Bedwell.

On 81 minutes, the energetic Nixon closed down a defender who slipped as he tried to turn infield. The teenager pounced on the loose ball and fed the overlapping run of Tomasso, advancing into the inside-left channel. As the ‘keeper came out to close the angle, Tomasso squared for Alfie STANLEY  to help himself to his eighth goal of the season.

As Totton celebrated their fifth goal of the game, the Didcot ‘keeper Leigh Bedwell vented his frustration on the ball, and probably without meaning to do so, struck Nixon with it. After an untidy scuffle between opposing players, Bedwell was shown his second yellow card and, therefore, dismissed. Didcot boss Jamie Heapy made a triple substitution, which included sending on back-up goalkeeper, Timmy Mungall.

Tomasso picked up a yellow card for a foul in midfield. Then, with Mungall out of position as the ball came forward again, Bromfield had to hook the ball out with Nixon closing in.

Rendell received a long ball inside the right corner of the area with Stanley coming up in support. They exchanged passes and Rendell bent a cross towards Nixon at the far post, which Mungall dived to punch away two-handed.

Goal number six came with three minutes remaining. Already forward to take a left-wing throw-in, Ragguette stayed on the touchline as Maloney and Magri kept possession, before the latter played a low pass forward to Nixon. With his back to goal and a defender behind him, Nixon redirected the ball to the unmarked Ragguette, about 20 yards out. Taking a touch, he shifted the ball infield and then set off on a powerful run, eluding the full-back to create a pathway for himself to charge into at inside-left. Learoyd tried to get across and make a sliding tackle at the left of the six-yard box but it was already too late; Jordan RAGGUETTE slammed the ball under the substitute ‘keeper Mungall and into the bottom-right corner.

Ragguette was at it again a minute later, when he latched on to a pass from Magri to attack the left-wing byline and centre with a low cross that was turned away. Totton regained the ball, Maloney feeding Stanley whose shot was blocked, then Kennedy squared to Tomasso, who was inside the D, his shot arrowing narrowly wide to the right.

Having put in a fine display in which he combined his usual vision and creativity with a real sense of industrious urgency, Totton’s No.17 deservedly got in on the goalscoring act two minutes into stoppage time. As players were taking up their positions for a left-wing corner, Rendell took advantage of the home side switching off to tip-toe towards Maloney to initiate a short corner, from which the Sunburnt Assassin returned the ball to Maloney on the left edge of the penalty area. With nobody closing him down, Leon MALONEY picked his spot with a delightful looped shot over everybody and in under the crossbar at the top-right corner of Didcot’s goal to wrap up the scoring at 7-1 with his sixth goal of the season.

With all the other midweek games in the Southern League Premier Division South having taken place the night before, the result moved The Stags up to sixth place in the table just one place and three points off today’s FA Trophy opponents Merthyr Town in the last of the Play-Off places.

By Ben Rochey-Adams

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