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THE STAGS ARE BACK at home in the FA Trophy Second Round this Saturday against Havant & Waterlooville.
Let’s find out a bit about our opponents…
Havant & Waterlooville Football Club participates in the National League South, at the sixth tier of English football, following their relegation from the National League in the 2018/19 season. The club was formed in 1998 with the merger of Havant Town and Waterlooville. Nicknamed "The Hawks", they play at Westleigh Park.
HAVE THEY GENERALLY BEEN SUCCESSFUL IN THE LEAGUE?
After being promoted the previous season, The Hawks won the 2017/18 National League South, winning it on the final day with a win against Concord Rangers when Jason Prior scored the 89th-minute winning goal. Prior was also The Hawks’ leading scorer in their successful league campaign, finishing as the fifth top scorer in the campaign with 23 goals.
In the 2018/19, Havant & Waterlooville struggled to adjust to life in the National League and were relegated with three matches remaining. On 22 April 2019, Havant & Waterlooville released a statement confirming Lee Bradbury had left by mutual consent. The next day, assistant manager Shaun Gale was appointed Caretaker Manager for their final two games of the season. On 29 April, it was announced that former Sutton United manager Paul Doswell had signed a three-year contract, bringing Ian Baird back to the club as his assistant.
In 2019/20 in the National League South, the club switched to morning training, three days a week. As a result, the squad was transformed with only three players remaining from those who completed the previous season. The new look Hawks challenged at the top of the division until the season was curtailed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At first, it appeared as though the League would only promote the leading club, given the extraordinary circumstances. As The Hawks stood second in the division they, along with the similarly placed York City of the National League North, started the #promote2 campaign for Play-Offs to take place or the second place club to be promoted. Eventually, Play-Offs did take place but Havant & Waterlooville lost 1-2 to Dartford in their home semi-final.
HOW DID THEY GET ON LAST SEASON?
On 10 March 2023, Paul Doswell moved into a Director of Football role, with Jamie Collins becoming manager. However, after a poor start to the 2023/24 National League South season, Collins was sacked on 08 September. Since then, The Hawks are yet to win another game since the thrilling 4-3 victory over Yeovil Town, under ex-Dartford and Gloucester City manager Steve King.
HAVE AFC TOTTON PLAYED THEM RECENTLY?
The Stags and The Hawks were regular competitors throughout the mid-80s and into the mid-90s. More recently, however, the matches between them have been rather less frequent. In 2001/02, a Scott Bundy was not enough to prevent Totton being knocked out of the Russell-Cotes Cup in an eventual 1-2 home defeat to Havant & Waterlooville. The teams locked horns again 10 years later, in the Semi-Finals of the Hampshire Senior Cup. Jack Adam and Ryan Moss gave AFC Totton a 2-1 home win, on this occasion.
The Hawks turned on the style when they won 5-1 in a pre-season friendly at the Snows Stadium in the summer of 2022, but it was a much closer affair when the two sides met in the Emirates FA Cup just a few months later. Muhammadu Faal scored the only goal of the cup tie but by then-manager Paul Doswell’s admission, Totton were very unfortunate to not come away with at least a replay having laid siege upon the Havant & Waterlooville goal late in the game.
HAWKS OLD BOY: AFC Totton captain Mike Carter, pictured in action against his former club Havant & Waterlooville in the summer 2022 pre-season friendly at the Snows Stadium.
DO WE HAVE CURRENT OR FORMER PLAYERS IN COMMON?
Yes, there are a handful of former Havant & Waterlooville players in The Stags squad at the moment. Captain Mike Carter, centre-forward Scott Rendell and defender Sam Magri and Joe Oastler have all plied their trade at Westleigh Park. If selected, full-back Benny Read will be making his 50th appearance for AFC Totton against the Havant & Waterlooville side he left to come to the Snows Stadium around this time last year.
WHO IS THEIR MANAGER NOW?
Steve King is a vastly experienced non-league football manager, who took Lewes FC from the Isthmian League One South to the National League in five seasons, before enjoying further success with Farnborough. He returned to Lewes before largely triumphant spells with Macclesfield, Whitehawk, Welling United, Dartford and Gloucester City, who he took from mid-table to the Play-Offs last season.
WHEN AND WHERE IS THE GAME?
The match takes place at the Snows Stadium on Salisbury Road, Totton SO40 2RW on Saturday 18 November. Kick-off is at 3:00pm.
CAN I BUY TICKETS?
Tickets will be available at the turnstile on the day. You can save money by purchasing your tickets online in advance.
By Adi Rose and Malcolm Tombs (Club Historian)