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

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The Stags welcome high-flying Tavistock AFC to the Snows Stadium this Saturday.

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Tavistock AFC_600px.pngAFC Totton will come face-to-face with the Southern League Div.1 South’s top goalscorer on Saturday afternoon, when reigning Western League Premier Division Champions Tavistock AFC make the 145-mile trip from Devon to the Snows Stadium looking to extend their impressive start to life at Step 4.

Striker Liam Prynn has 14 goals to his name from this season’s league campaign, so far, including all four in his side’s 4-1 away win at Paulton Rovers on Wednesday night, a brace on his last visit to Hampshire in The Lambs’ 7-3 spectacular at Lymington Town a fortnight ago and another quadruple-haul in the 4-0 win at Frome Town on Bonfire Night. Bolstered by the fireworks in Prynn’s boots, the Devon-based club are currently riding high in third place in the table, with 26 points and a total goal tally of 33, just four fewer than Sholing who have played two matches more than Manager Stuart Henderson’s team.

Prynn’s story is an interesting one. Having identified him as a big talent for the future as a 16-year-old in 2013, Aston Villa paid £50,000 to Torquay United to take him into the Villa Park academy, only for the teenager to complain of homesickness and return to Plainmoor. He eventually left Torquay in July 2016, signing for AFC St. Austell who are currently in the South West Peninsula League. The player comes to the Snows Stadium sitting four goals clear of Paulton Rovers’ Kyle Tooze at the top of the Southern League Div.1 South scoring charts.

But Tavvy are by no-means a one-man band. Joshua Grant and Alex Battle have also weighed in with several goals apiece, while the team’s midfielders have been contributing goals, too. The team is based on a strong core of players who have been together for several years under the same manager, winning their way up the pyramid starting with the South-West Peninsula League in 2017 and then again in 2019, only taking up the opportunity for promotion on the second occasion.

They weathered the COVID-19 affected seasons to take the Western League Premier Division title on goal difference last season, pipping the also-promoted Exmouth Town by a single goal over the course of the entire season.

Tavvy’s results so far this season show they can be got at – Hamworthy United put six past them in October; Lymington’s three were courtesy of two Owen Fee penalties. As well as the defeat to The Hammers, Wimborne Town and Melksham Town both took all three points on their visits to West Devon.

Tavistock lost 2-3 to lower-tier Brixham AFC in the Extra-Preliminary Round of the Emirates FA Cup, but they put together an impressive run in the Isuzu FA Trophy, overcoming Kidlington on penalties, Didcot Town, Melksham Town and Binfield, both at home, before losing by the odd goal in three to Hungerford Town of the National League South last Saturday.

According to our records, this is the first meeting between AFC Totton and Tavistock AFC. There is one vaguely familiar face among their coaching ranks, though, at least for those Stags fans who also follow The Saints. One-time Tottenham Hotspur-loanee centre-back Calum Davenport is Stuart Henderson’s Assistant Manager. Davenport played for Coventry City before moving to Tottenham in 2004. He had loan spells with West Ham United, Southampton and Norwich City before joining West Ham on a permanent deal. Loans at Watford and Sunderland followed, before he was the victim of a horrific knife attack in his home at the hands of his sister’s boyfriend and an accomplice. Davenport, who is 6’ 4” represented England at U19, U20 and U21 levels, accumulating 10 caps in all.

By Ben Rochey-Adams

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