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MATCHDAY 11 - Saturday 19 November 2022

CINDERFORD TOWN                          1
Felix Miles 77mins

AFC TOTTON                                           6
Conor Whiteley 18mins; Mike Carter 21mins; Ethan Taylor 26mins, 50mins, 74mins; Matty Burrows 85mins

AFC Totton moved up to fourth place in the Southern League Div.1 South table with an emphatic 6-1 victory over Cinderford Town at The Causeway Ground in Gloucestershire yesterday (Saturday), building upon last weekend’s beating of Westbury United to make it 11 goals in just two matches.

Adam Tomasso returned to the right-back slot, facilitating the return of Charlie Kennedy, now fully-recovered from flu to resume his central defensive partnership with Luke Hallett. Mike Carter returned from suspension to captain the team from midfield, with Freddie Read dropping to the bench. Recent signings Conor Whiteley, Charlie Davis and Matty Burrows all retained their places in the starting line-up.

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

1.  Lewis NOICE
2.  Adam TOMASSO
3.  Jordan RAGGUETTE
4.  Mike CARTER (Capt.)
5.  Charlie KENNEDY
6.  Luke HALLETT
7.  Conor WHITELEY
8.  Charlie DAVIS
9.  Scott RENDELL
10.  Ethan TAYLOR
11.  Matty BURROWS
14.  Jack SEDDON
15.  Jake ADAMS
16.  Yemi ODUBADE
18.  Freddie READ

The Foresters, who suffered a 1-8 defeat at the pointy end of The Stags’ antlers when these two sides met at the same ground last season, got the game underway, wearing their home kit of black-and-white striped shirts, black shorts and black socks. Totton wore their own home kit of all-blue and white, having made the two-and-a-half hour journey up from the Snows Stadium accompanied by a healthy smattering of the Stags’ faithful.

The visitors were the first to assert themselves. Charlie Davis got back rapidly to dispossess Cinderford right-back Will Emery as he was poised to launch a counter-attack. Davis fed Ethan Taylor on the left-hand side whose cross from deep just eluded Scott Rendell on the far side of the penalty spot, drifting out for a goal-kick.

A minute later, a foul by Davis on Brandon Liggett resulted in a free-kick for the home side, near the half-way line. Jamie Bremner took it, dropping the ball into the Totton penalty area where Dion Molyneux’s header was blocked and came back to him. He laid the ball back to Bremner, tempting the left-back to strike at goal from 30 yards, his effort bending wide to the right of Lewis Noice’s goal.

The momentum was back-and-forth during the early exchanges, as the two sides weighed each other up, to some extent. Jordan Ragguette’s alertness and determination to win the ball in the centre-circle put the kibosh on another Cinderford attempt to counter-attack, but the move petered out when Mike Carter’s cross-field pass floated out of Rendell’s reach.

Centre-forward Michael Symons, whose ability to use his considerable physique to his advantage brought him a goal against Totton when he was an Evesham United player last season, threatened to create chances for his team with aerial knock-ons, Charlie Kennedy and Luke Hallett both doing their best to keep close tabs on him. Kennedy resorted to pulling him to the ground at one point, giving Cinderford a free-kick 30 yards out on their right-hand side. Bremner curled his delivery to the back post where Symons was in position to head at goal, but Noice was able to cover the narrow angle and make a comfortable catch.

A one-and-two-touch move involving Ragguette, Conor Whiteley and Taylor swept Totton forward from the middle out to the left wing, but Taylor’s low cross was behind Rendell in the penalty area, allowing Cinderford to clear their lines. Then in the 10th minute, the energetic Davis intercepted a loose pass, knocking the ball square to Rendell near the half-way line. Spotting the Cinderford goalkeeper Ellis Parker off his line, Rendell went for the Beckhamesque spectacular, sending the ball narrowly over the crossbar at the top-right corner.

Stuart Fleetwood make threatening progress down the right flank but Ragguette stuck well to his defensive responsibilities, getting back to dispossess the Cinderford No.10 before clearing the ball up the line and putting The Stags on the front foot again. After winning two throw-ins in advanced positions on the left flank, Totton then moved the ball infield and Davis saw an opportunity to let fly from distance, his shot taking a deflection to go out for a corner on the right. Davis took it himself, passing short to Taylor at the near post, who turned and shot, the ball striking a defender’s arm. As Totton players appealed for a penalty, their hosts swept upfield on the counter. A clipped diagonal pass found Felix Miles in the inside-left channel, with Carter tracking him and doing enough to deflect the striker’s shot wide for a Cinderford corner - which was then played in low and flicked wide at the near post.

Positioned on the half-way line, central defender Dion Molyneux headed Lewis Noice’s goal-kick back to where it came from. The bounce wrong-footed Kennedy, allowing Fleetwood to latch onto it, hooking his shot over the bar.

Conor Whiteley-3_AFC Totton vs Westbury United-SLD1S-10_Sat12Nov2022.jpg
TWO-IN-TWO: Conor Whiteley opened the scoring with a close range finish in the 18th minute.

A combination between new boys Conor Whiteley and Matty Burrows was repelled by the Cinderford defence, Davis picking up the loose ball in midfield and quickly passing to Rendell, who dummied the ball, allowing it to run to Ragguette on the left. He took on Emery and tried to drive in a low cross-shot, Emery managing to deflect the ball wide for a corner. Taylor’s cross from the left was flicked upward by the head of Symons at the back post, but Rendell positioned himself under the dropping ball to nod it down to Burrows to the right of the penalty spot. He drove it low into the ruck of players crowding the area; a deflection presented the ball at the feet of Conor WHITELEY who steered it between a defender and the keeper to double this AFC Totton goal tally in just his second Stags outing.

Totton were sharper all over the pitch, particularly in the middle of the park, from where their second goal followed in the 21st minute. The influential Davis arrowed the ball out to Ragguette, who burned a path past Emery before crossing to the centre. Rendell’s header was knocked away but Davis retrieved the ball. Mike CARTER made a run to his left which Davis spotted, rolling the ball to his skipper who then negotiated his way through the black-and-white shirts via a clever, crisp one-two with Whiteley, allowing him to advance into the area and calmly place a low, curling shot under Parker’s let hand and into the bottom-right corner for his first AFC Totton goal.

Mike Carter-2_AFC Totton vs Slimbridge AFC_SLD1S-06_Sat15Oct2022.jpg
CAPTAIN'S GOAL: Mike Carter opened his AFC Totton goalscoring account with a tidy finish after a crisp passing move.

Just as everything seemed rosey in the AFC Totton garden, Scott Rendell went down clutching his groin, and after lengthy treatment from physio Andrew Hanley, The Stags’ top scorer for the season so far was substituted, with Yemi Odubade coming on to replace him. When the match resumed, Totton were undeterred in their determination to attack, Whiteley, Davis and Burrows working the ball forward at pace before a Burrows headed flick-on ran too far for Taylor to connect.

Any belief among the home defence that Totton’s goal threat had been depleted by the removal of Rendell was soon put the sword when The Stags went three-goals up in the 26th minute. A long punt out of defence by Adam Tomasso had Whiteley darting after it though the middle. The former Sholing forward wasn’t able to reach it, but by distracting the Cinderford defence, he effectively dummied the ball into the path of Ethan TAYLOR, who took the ball in his stride as he advanced into the inside-left area and, despite the presence of a defender to his right, fired past Parker’s left shoulder to score into the right-hand side of the goal.

Taylor demonstrated his defensive qualities soon after, doubling back together with Davis to prevent Liggett exploiting space vacated by the roaming Ragguette down Cinderford’s right wing. Then, Parker had to be out of his box quickly to punt the ball out of the ground with Whiteley closing in on a through-ball by Odubade.

Carter conceded a free-kick 30 yards from the Totton goal for a foul on Symons. Bremner went for it but his effort was straight at Noice, who made a comfortable catch. Then, Tomasso was penalised for holding Fleetwood near half-way. Bremner took it, once again, and although Molyneux got on the ball on the far side of the penalty area, Tomasso was well-placed to boot his cross away.

Charlie Davis took advantage of a loose touch in midfield to shoot from distance, his strike flying narrowly over the bar to the right in similar fashion to Rendell’s earlier effort. Then, Emery found space on the right touchline, after the ball slipped between Ragguette and an opponent, freeing him to attack down the flank. Kennedy came across to force him into a decision and, although he had enough time to measure his cross, he struck the ball too hard for the solitary black-and-white shirt in the middle to have any chance of making a meaningful connection. Emery appeared to still be annoyed himself moments later, when he allowed a simple pass along the defence to roll under his foot and out of play for a Totton throw.

Charlie Davis_Jack Seddon_AFC Totton_Nov2022.jpg
ENGINE ROOM: New recruit Charlie Davis put in another impressive midfield display.

A long kick from Noice was headed down to Whiteley, for whom a moment’s hesitation caused the ball to bobble, robbing him of a chance to shoot from about 25 yards. Then in the 41st minute, Kennedy sprayed the ball out to the left-hand side where Taylor did well to keep it in play, advancing to force Emery and Molyneux back towards their own goal before firing into the side-netting behind the left-hand post.

Conor Whiteley then pulled up and had to receive treatment. When play resumed, Michael Symons was booked for a flailing arm that connected with Charlie Kennedy’s face. Then, Kennedy committed a soft foul on Fleetwood at the Cinderford right-wing byline. The home side wasted the opportunity, though, with Bremner’s cross failing to get beyond Taylor at the near post.

Cinderford were pushing hard to get on the scoresheet before the half-time break. Odubade popped up in the left-back area to head clear from one set-piece. Then, Kennedy tried to clear the ball upfield, only to see the ball rebound off Liggett and over the frame of Totton’s goal.

Never a stranger to a telling off on the football pitch, Mike Carter was spoken to by the Referee after contesting a hand-ball decision against Taylor in the centre-circle, shorter after which the man in all-black signalled the end of the first 45 minutes.

CINDERFORD TOWN                          0
AFC TOTTON                                           3

Jimmy Ball decided to withdraw Conor Whiteley at the break, sending on club stalwart Jack Masterton in his place.

When the second half got underway, Cinderford defender Jack Bartman managed to recover quickly from his own heavy touch to prevent Taylor nipping in to pile on more misery for the home side. Then, operating within an altered system that had him playing on the right of a defensive three, Luke Hallett brought the ball forward on the right, under the audible verbal encouragement of Charlie Davis. A measured forward pass played Matty Burrows in between Bartman and Bremner, allowing Burrows to run onto it, chop onto his left foot and strike just inside the near post, Parker reacting sharply with an impressive diving catch.

Hallett went on another right-wing foray shortly after. His cross was headed out to Carter, who turned it forward towards the right-wing corner flag. where Odubade and Burrows combined before eventually being crowded out by Cinderford defenders.

With Rendell and Whiteley both substituted out, and fans’ favourite Brett Williams having joined Gosport Borough during the week, there was no obvious candidate to hold the ball up front for The Stags. So, they adapted to find another way to torment their hosts. Ragguette pinged a pass up the left-wing for Burrows to chase onto, outpacing his marker to play a low pass into the middle, taking out Parker in the process for Ethan TAYLOR to slide in ahead of a defender to force the ball over the line for his second goal of the game.

Cinderford tried to attack down their right wing, but Noice was able to pluck the cross out of the air. The pace and tenacity of Burrows was unsettling the Cinderford defence. Kennedy’s through-ball had Molyneux chasing back towards his own goal as Burrows ran onto it at inside-left and attempted to lob Parker into the far corner, the Salisbury-loanee getting a little too much on it and arcing the ball over the frame of the goal.

Luke Hallett-1_AFC Totton vs Slimbridge AFC_SLD1S-06_Sat15Oct2022.jpg
LEADING THE CHARGE FROM THE BACK: A change to Jimmy Ball's system allowed Luke Hallett the freedom to roam forward from defence.

A well-timed interception on the edge of the Totton area by Hallett prevented Symons tip-toeing in on goal from an angled cross from the Cinderford right. Then, having just returned from suspension, Mike Carter inadvertently got to work on accruing another one by picking up a yellow card for reasons unknown.

Hallett cleared from within his own six-yard box, after Bremner managed to get in behind Odubade on the Cinderford left to whip in a low cross. Then, Jimmy Ball and his assistant Paul Masters were both shown the yellow card, the first for having too many people standing in the technical area and the second for dissent.

Mitchell McCann floating a left-wing corner to the edge of the Totton penalty area, inviting Cinderford sub Jack Freeman to attempt a spectacular volley, which flew wide to the right. Ethan Taylor went down with a head injury but was soon back up on his feet, demonstrating exquisite control to pick the ball out of the air on his left foot, before being dispossessed before he could capitalise.

Around the hour mark, the game had lapsed into a short period of scrappy play, with Totton neither threatening to extend their lead nor having to withstand waves of attacking pressure from the home side, who were struggling to impose their game on proceedings, despite the enforced changes to Totton’s front line.

Freeman tried again from distance, after being teed up by Bartman, again dragging his shot too far to the right. Then, Jordan Ragguette won a corner on the left, knocking the ball off midfielder Daniel Barnard. Davis took it and Taylor received the ball in the area. He took a shot on the turn which was blocked and booted clear.

A short sprint by Jack Masterton enabled him to claim the ball in midfield, lay it out to the right wing for Yemi Odubade and continue his forward run to receive the return pass into the inside-right channel. Before Cinderford knew what was happening, Masterton had already picked out Burrows near the penalty spot but his first-time strike whistled past the right-hand post.

Jack Masterton-2_AFCTotton vs Basingstoke Town_Pre-Season-7_30July2022.jpg
JACK IN THE BOX: AFC Totton stalwart Jack Masterton made an all-action second-half cameo appearance to help The Stags overwhelm Cinderford Town.

Lewis Noice was called into action in the 68th minute, when Cinderford sub Toby Holland took possession from an angled pass out to their left wing. He drove infield and sent in a low shot from 25 yards, which The Stags No.1 dealt with by making a smart save low to his left.

The Stags were again on the hunt for goals, and Burrows won a free-kick just to the left of the D after Barnard earned himself a yellow card for dragging the rapid winger to the ground rather than endure a foot race. Davis hit a well-struck shot with his right foot, which Parker palmed over the bar. Barnard redeemed himself by heading away the consequent corner. Cinderford raced forward on the counter-attack and Fleetwood fed Holland to shoot from the edge of the box. Kennedy managed to get something in the way to divert the ball into the air, allowing Noice to come out and catch it.

In the 72nd minute, Ragguette made a rugged challenge on the Totton left to win the ball back, then crossed into the box. Burrows tried to reach it but Cinderford managed to force the ball away, only for Odubade to regain possession on the right flank, charge his way past a defender to the byline and send in a low cross that bypassed Parker and presented Ethan TAYLOR with a three-yard tap-in to complete his hat-trick.

Philpott trips Ethan Taylor_Penalty_AFC Totton vs Winchester City_Pre-Season-5_Sat23July2022.jpg
HAT-TRICK HERO: AFC Totton winger Ethan Taylor bagged three goals as The Stags ran rampant in Gloucestershire.

Taylor then turned provider, flicking the ball up on his heel to find Charlie Davis, who curled a shot over Parker and into the top-right corner of the net. But the Assistant Referee’s raised flag ruled the goal out for offside.

Jack Seddon was sent on to replace Mike Carter around the 75th minute mark. Two minutes later, Cinderford pulled a goal back in confusing circumstances. Kennedy, who had been shifted into midfield when Carter went off, was beaten to a lose ball by a black-and-white shirt, and the ball was slipped into the inside-left channel for Felix Miles. Odubade appeared to have got his body between man and ball, and was shepherding it back for Noice to come and gather. Odubade went down and Noice appeared to think his teammate had been pushed over, while Felix MILES ran onto the loose ball and finished into the far corner from a tight angle. It wasn’t clear at first whether the goal had been awarded or ruled out, until the Referee finally pointed to the centre-circle to confirm that Cinderford had indeed pulled one goal back.

Shortly after the restart, Will Emery was booked for a foul on Ragguette. Davis tried to find Hallett at the back post from his free-kick, but Cinderford managed to head clear. Adam Tomasso was the next name in the Referee’s little black book, for tripping Liggett. The free-kick was overhit, not troubling the Totton defence.

Matty Burrows-1_AFC Totton_Nov2022.jpg
TWO-IN-TWO, TOO: Matty Burrows matched Conor Whiteley's haul of two goals in his first two games since joining AFC Totton on loan from Salisbury last week.

Totton made it 6-1 in the 84th minute, Matty BURROWS deservedly getting on the scoresheet when he raced onto Kennedy’s through-ball from deep to fire across Parker from inside the area, the ball nestling in the bottom right-hand corner as the winger joined Conor Whiteley on 2 goals from 2 games since joining The Stags last week.

Cinderford continued to go through the motions, Emery whipping in a cross from the right which Noice took cleanly, despite Ragguette falling in front of him. Then, with about three minutes to go, Ethan Taylor needed treatment for an ankle injury. Totton had already used all three substitutes but Jimmy Ball and Paul Masters decided to play out the remainder of the game with 10 men rather than risk further aggravating Taylor’s injury.

Ragguette kept Emery busy down the Totton left, charging forward towards the corner flag. Clever play through midfield by Davis and Masterton belied The Stags’ reduced numbers, although they were unable to fashion a shooting chance from it. As Totton passed the ball around their midfield, defence and back to Noice in his penalty area, shouts of “Olé! Olé!” came from the cluster of Totton fans stationed behind the visiting team’s dug-out, before the Referee called time on a thumping away win.

Paul Masters_Jimmy Ball_AFC Totton_Nov2022.jpg

After the match, AFC Totton manager Jimmy Ball (pictured, right) said:

“We’ve been threatening that kind of big scoring win for a long time. I thought someone was going to find themselves on the wrong end of a beating like that for the last five or six games, and our performance today fully-deserved the big scoreline.

“Pace is a great separator and Conor Whiteley and Matty Burrows have it in abundance. There are different ways to be aggressive in football; you can be physically aggressive with that air of meanness and menace, or you can have the kind of pace and determination to win that causes defenders headaches from the first whistle to the last. We showed great control over the game and you can see fantastic growth in the way this team is coming together.

“We had to take four players off the pitch with little niggles. All of them were precautionary decisions. We play Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday throughout the next few weeks, so we have to be sensible and not take any silly risks. We’ll have to take a look at each of them in turn but, fingers crossed, they’ll all be available for Hamworthy at home on Tuesday night.”

Southern League Div.1 South | Matchday 12 | Snows Stadium
Tuesday 22 November 2022 | Kick-Off 7:45pm

Latest Southern League Div.1 South league table

View AFC Totton’s fixture list for the 2022/23 season

By Ben Rochey-Adams

Images courtesy of Craig Hobbs Photography

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