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MATCHDAY #02 - Tuesday 16 August 2022

HAMWORTHY UNITED                     2
Cam Munn 47mins; Adam Costello 80mins

AFC TOTTON                                            1
Charlie Kennedy 64mins

In just their second match of the new Southern League Div.1 South campaign, AFC Totton slumped to their first defeat of the season at newly-promoted Hamworthy United last night (Tuesday), going down to Adam Costello’s strike from a direct free-kick 10 minutes from the end.

Callum Baughan came into the side at right-back with Jordan Ragguette dropping from midfield to left-back. Jack Masterton took the No.7 shirt while Ethan Taylor was named among the substitutes, leaving the way clear for Jake Adams to play from the start after a bright cameo appearance towards the end of the opening day win over Bishop’s Cleeve.

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

1.  Lewis NOICE
2.  Callum BAUGHAN
3.  Jordan RAGGUETTE
4.  Mike CARTER (Capt.)
5.  Charlie KENNEDY
6.  Luke HALLETT
8.  Adam TOMASSO
10.  Scott RENDELL
11.  Jake ADAMS
14.  Brett WILLIAMS
15.  Yemi ODUBADE
16.  Ethan TAYLOR
17.  Michael GREEN
18.  Enrique RUSSELL

Four former Stags were included in the Hamworthy United squad with goalkeeper Shaun Murphy, defender Tony Rolls and winger Sam Griffin all in the starting line-up, while Curtis Young was named among the Hammers' substitutes.

The match kicked-off slightly after 7:45pm, on the 3G surface of The County Ground with the home side in their traditional claret-and-blue hoops and the visiting Stags in their changed kit of fluo yellow and black. The home side managed the first shot of the game. A corner from their right-hand side was played in low and Harvey Wright diverted his first-time effort wide of the near post.

A heavy touch from Jordan Ragguette had Charlie Kennedy going in strong near the half-way line to prevent Hamworthy getting in behind the Totton defence. But then Harvey Wright led a forward charge down the Hammers right with Oyebamiji giving chase back towards his own left-back area before Wright’s cross was turned away from close to the penalty spot. The Stags went up the other end of the pitch and Adam Tomasso made a rare darting run forward to latch onto Oyebamiji’s pass and chip into the centre, where defender Billy Walker was able to nod the ball back to Shane Murphy despite the presence of Scott Rendell.

Murphy and Noice then decided to cut out all the middle men and have a game of goalkeeper tennis, initially from a free-kick the home keeper took from just inside his own half and ending with Murphy having to quickly readjust his feet to grab the ball from above his head to stop Noice’s long kick bouncing over him and into the empty net.

Former Stag Sam Griffin was making his home league debut for his new side and had his first chance to shine on 9 minutes, when he tried to make progress in the inside-left area. Callum Baughan tracked his run carefully and closed the space down quickly. Then, Rendell won a free-kick just inside opposition territory, which Jack Masterton delivered high into the box for Luke Hallett to meet with a towering header that looped towards the right-hand post. Murphy swatted the ball away before Rendell could connect to finish the chance.

Jack Masterton-2_AFCTotton vs Basingstoke Town_Pre-Season-7_30July2022.jpg
SET-PIECE SPECIALIST: Jack Masterton's free-kick and corner deliveries were one bright for the Stags on an otherwise disappointing night in Poole.

From the corner, Masterton once again looped the ball to the far post. Kennedy headed down, causing the ball to bounce to Oyebamiji who then nodded over from the opposite side of the goal.

Jake Adams went down inside the Hamworthy United penalty area under Griffin’s challenge but the Referee saw nothing wrong, and then Oyebamiji knew little about an attempted clearance that struck his feet and almost rebounded over Murphy, who was alert enough to make the stop.

A miss-placed defensive header by Totton captain Mike Carter forced Baughan into a hurried clearance, then Adams and Kennedy engage in a bit of tag team to halt forward Max Wilcock’s progress. Shortly after, Griffin won a free-kick on the left-hand side for the home team, when he lured Baughan into stretching for the ball, but the home side didn’t make the most of the opportunity.

Mid-way through the first half, Sam Griffin switched to the right flank and he combined with Cam Munn to attack Jordan Ragguette’s area of the pitch and whip in a cross that Hallett and then Adams both did well to defend with plenty of claret and blue shirts around them. Masterton then tracked Griffin all the way to the corner flag to snuff out another chance.

A late tackle by Carter brought the ire of the Referee but no caution. It did serve to raise the temperature and the intensity of the game a little. Baughan had to head Griffin’s cross clear from deep inside the Totton area, then the same Stags defender made a crucial interception to prevent a through-ball releasing a forward into a one-on-one in the inside-left channel.

In the 29th minute, Baughan’s combination with Ragguette in an advanced position on the right-hand side created the chance to cross to Rendell on the back post, but the centre-forward headed over. Then, Griffin dispossessed Ragguette outside the Hamworthy box to put the home side on the front foot, drawing an appreciative response from the home crowd.

Hallett had the ball flicked off his brow by Shane Murphy from Masterton’s right-wing corner. And ex-Stag defender Tony Rolls had the closest effort of the first half when he made a late run into the box to connect with a corner delivered from the Hammers’ right wing, diverting the ball narrowly over the top-left corner from around the penalty spot.

Oyebamiji’s willingness to isolate and race defenders was proving a handful for the home side to deal with, but too often passes from deep designed to release him would skid off the 3G surface and travel straight through to Murphy in the Hamworthy goal, or the young striker would make his move a fraction to early and trigger the Assistant Referee’s flag-waving arm.

Cam Munn managed to get free inside the Totton box, to the left of the goal, but Baughan got in his way before he could inflict any damage. Then, crisp passing along the deck had Totton moving the ball quickly, until Hallett’s through-ball for Oyebamiji was cut-out by Murphy rushing off his goal-line.

The home side failed to make the most of a counter attack initiated by Griffin, shortly before half-time, and then Oyebamiji was spoken to by the Referee about leaving his foot dangling when Murphy came out to snatch the ball away.

Griffin tried a spectacular effort, receiving the ball from the Hamworthy left while positioned just outside the Totton area with his back to goal. He chested down onto his right foot and then went for a ferocious volley over his left shoulder, with soared a long way over Lewis Noice’s goal.

Kennedy found himself on the end of a late, high tackle by Cam Munn, which was enough to earn him a free-kick but no yellow card for the culprit. Hamworthy dealt with Totton’s free-kick into their box, ensuring the sides were still tied at the break.

HAMWORTHY UNITED                      0
AFC TOTTON                                             0

From the start of the second half, the Hammers went straight on the attack and earned themselves a corner on the right. Totton struggled to clear their lines, enabling Hamworthy to launch another foray into the edge of a crowded penalty box. Munn danced through a couple of blue shirts before Ragguette stuck out his foot to send the forward crashing to the deck. The Referee pointed to the penalty spot, and Cam MUNN coolly despatched the ball into the bottom-left corner as Noice went the wrong way.

Adam Tomasso took a tumble inside the Hamworthy area in a vain attempt to encourage the Referee to level the penalty kicks tally. The Stags once again increased the tempo of their play with short, sharp passing along the 3G-covered playing surface, but their hosts were rarely troubled at the back.

In the 56th minute, Rolls was penalised for pulling Oyebmaiji down about 25 yards out to the right of the D. Jake Adams sized up the scene before curling his left-footed shot around the defensive wall and on-target, only to see Murphy dive full-length to his right to parry the ball away with two strong palms.

Jimmy Ball tried to freshen things up for the visitors on the hour mark, by introducing Yemi Odubade and Ethan Taylor into proceedings. Tomasso and Oyebamiji came off to make way. Shortly after, Harvey Wright came close for the hosts with a snapshot from 20 yards that sailed narrowly over Noice’s crossbar, after two Totton players struggled to get the ball under control on the edge of a crowded area.

Charlie Kennedy_AFC Totton_New Signing_May2022.jpg
FIRST STAGS GOAL: Central defender Charlie Kennedy opened his AFC Totton with a thumping header from Jack Masterton's free-kick mid-way through the second half.

The match had been a stop-start encounter throughout, with free-kicks and corners dominating the highlights over general team play. So, when Totton equalised in the 64th minute, it was no surprise that it came from a set-piece delivered from deep on the left by Jack Masterton into the centre of the penalty box where an unmarked Charlie KENNEDY was afforded the freedom of Dorset to crash his header high into the Hamworthy net, beyond the exposed Murphy.

Totton had their tails up and Odubade was able to scamper down the right-wing touchline and cross for Taylor, but a claret and blue head managed to intervene. Baughan bravely battled two opponents on half-way but the Stags soon found themselves defending corners, from one of which Noice had to tip over the crossbar to stop the ball curling directly into his net.

Tony Rolls had to go off to receive treatment for an open wound and he did not return to the action, substitute Adam Costello coming on in his place. Hamworthy pressed the Stags back in the 71st minute. First, Kennedy had to deal with an awkwardly bouncing ball at the left byline. Then, Griffin hooked a dangerous ball into the box towards Munn, but he was given offside.

Jimmy Ball took his last roll of the dice by sending on Brett Williams to replace Jack Masterton, adding another forward into the mix at the expense of a midfielder. Mike Carter had his name taken by the Referee after an underhit pass by Baughan sold him short in the centre-circle, prompting him to improvise an intervention into a potential Hamworthy breakaway.

Clever defending by Billy Walker denied Adams entry from Totton’s left side, the centre-back shepherding the ball out of play rather than being fooled by the young midfielder’s skills on the ball. Then, Williams poked a shot wide after Carter and Rendell both knocked the ball on through the centre.

Griffin popped up on the left-hand side to take on Callum Baughan, again. The Stags right-back was equal to anything his former teammate could throw at him, though, and quashed the danger. A foul in an aerial challenge in the centre-circle by Kennedy had Griffin appealing to the Referee that the Stags centre-back was the last man. Nothing came of the appeal, but from the free-kick, Griffin and Baughan resumed hostilities near the Hamworthy left-wing byline, only for the Referee to then call the play back for something he had spotted on the edge of the penalty area, under the flightpath of the set-piece.

So, with another free-kick this time in more dangerous territory to the left of the D on the edge of the Totton box, substitute Adam COSTELLO struck a firm right-footed effort around the defensive wall and beyond the despairing dive of Lewis Noice to bury the ball into the bottom-right corner and put the home side back in front with 10 minutes to go.

As Totton tried to quicken the pace and get themselves back into the game, opportunities to slow the game down and eat into the remaining minutes were sought by their hosts, with several aerial duels resulting in loud screams and appeals for free-kicks. Williams was drawn into a foul on Walker, but soon after that he won a free-kick of his own to the left of the Hamworthy box. Odubade’s cross was headed clear and, when the ball was worked back to him, Odubade whipped the ball in again, only to see the same defender head clear again.

The Stags tried to get the ball down and play their way through the Hammers, but with a lead to protect the home side were able to fall back and fill up the space. Then, when they broke forward, a lucky ricochet presented the ball to Munn with Griffin wide open to his left. The ball came to the former Totton wing wizard but his right-footed prod towards the near post area went wide of the post.

Scott Rendell’s knock-down presented Williams with another late chance, but his low shot flashed wide to the right. And as time ticked over into three added minutes, Ethan Taylor’s over-zealous shoulder charge to try and keep a flailing Totton attack alive summed up the frustration of the evening for the boys in fluo yellow. They huffed and puffed but could produce little to trouble the closed ranks of Hamworthy players, despite a late aerial bombardment that pinned the Hammers back into their box for a spell.

The full-time whistle confirmed a second consecutive win for the home side and a first defeat of the 2022/23 season for AFC Totton.

Jimmy Ball-01_AFC Totton vs Bishops Cleeve_SLD1S-01_Sat13Aug2022.jpg

After the match, a fuming Jimmy Ball (pictured) said:

“I can only apologise to the fans, to the Board and to those volunteers who made the journey here tonight. That performance was completely and utterly unacceptable from my point-of-view. Lack of character, lack of ability, lack of too many things to win a game of football and we got exactly what we deserved. All I will say is that I will work very, very hard to make sure that whatever team I put out, they do not put in a performance like that ever again.

“In football, the first two things you have to do is out-run and out-fight the opposition. You can forget about skill and everything else, because if you don’t out-run and out-fight the opposition, you don’t deserve anything - you don’t get anything nine times out of ten. Full credit to Hamworthy, they out-ran us, out-fought us and when they needed the quality, they had it. So, fully deserved. It’s the absolute fundamentals of football.

“The biggest concern was the way we just kicked the ball. I can’t quite explain it because it’s the opposite of what we do in training. I have no idea why we get out in games and we literally shell it. I’ve got no excuses and all I can do is apologise to the fans who had to watch that. I feel sorry for them, my eyes are bleeding after that.

“You have to have bravery and guts and belief, and all of those things within your character to get on the ball and pass it to your teammate and play forwards instead of backwards all the time. Try to do something ingenuitive and not just bash the ball up the pitch. It doesn’t work and it’s awful to watch. I want people to enjoy watching us play but that wasn’t good enough.”

Elsewhere in the Southern League Div1 South, two other sides joined the Hammers in making it a maximum six points from two games. Sholing are the early pacesetters after thumping Melksham Town 5-1 at home at the recently renamed Imperial Homes Stadium, while a 53rd-minute goal from Harry McGrath gave Bashley a home win against Lymington Town.

Bishop’s Cleeve recovered from their opening day defeat at the Snows Stadium with an impressive 4-2 victory over Larkhall Athletic. Meanwhile, there was a six-goal thriller at Badgers Hill where Frome Town thought they had won it due to Laurent Davis-Wilson’s goal three minutes from time. But Joshua Baker hit back just a minute later with his second goal to ensure a 3-3 draw.

Evesham United were the evening’s only away winners. Two goals in three minutes mid-way through the second half were enough to hand them all three points at Westbury United.

FA Cup | Preliminary Round | Snows Stadium | Saturday 20 August 2022 | Kick-Off 3:00pm

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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