HAVING OVERCOME SHOLING to make progress in the Emirates FA Cup, Jimmy Ball’s AFC Totton side will turn their attentions to the Servio Hampshire Senior Cup this week, when they take on Isthmian League South Central Division side, Hartley Wintney.
The large village of Hartley Wintney is located three miles northwest of Fleet and eight miles east of Basingstoke. The football club ended last season at the foot of the Southern League Premier Division South, six points adrift from safety, their relegation meaning that they passed AFC Totton on their way down to Step 4 while The Stags were leaping up to Step 3 as Champions of the Southern League Div.1 South.
During their pre-season campaign, The Row met two teams who Totton also played over the summer. They beat Volta Sports 2-1 in their first friendly on 11 July, but lost 1-2 at home to Baffins Milton Rovers the following week. Their Isthmian League South Central campaign got off to a less than stellar start with a 2-6 defeat at Chipstead, but they recovered with a 5-2 home win over Metropolitan Police, before losing their third league game 1-2 at Chertsey Town. They currently occupy 14th place in the 21-team league table.
Progress was made in the Emirates FA Cup, beating Wessex League Premier Division side Sherborne Town 3-1 in the Preliminary Round, before their participation in this season’s competition was terminated by a 0-4 defeat at home to Folkestone Invicta, who are now in the Isthmian League Premier Division. While Totton will be engaged in league business with Hendon on Saturday 09 September, Hartley Wintney will travel to Kingston-upon-Thames to take on Corinthian-Casuals in First Round Qualifying for the Isuzu FA Trophy.
The Hampshire Senior Cup was the one that got away from Jimmy Ball and his squad in an otherwise all-conquering 2022/23 season. A much changed team fell at the first hurdle with a 0-2 defeat at the hands of AFC Portchester. While the team went on to retain the Southampton Senior Cup, there might be a feeling within The Stags squad that it is time to make their mark in the slightly more prestigious competition.
The club’s only successes in the Hampshire Senior Cup, which has been contested since 1888, came with back-to-back wins in 2010 and 2011, with a 4-0 win over Aldershot Town and a 3-1 success over Sholing, respectively, before The Stags made a third consecutive Final but lost 0-2 to Eastleigh in 2012. Of those three consecutive Finals, the first was staged at AFC Bournemouth’s Dean Court while both of the other two took place at St. Mary’s Stadium.
The Stags were handed a Walkover in the Quarter-Final of the 2021/22 competition, when Lymington Town withdrew due to illness sweeping through their squad. Eastleigh came to the Snows Stadium for the Semi-Final (pictured, right), which they won by a single goal before losing the Final on penalties to Farnborough. Basingstoke Town beat AFC Bournemouth in last season’s Final to lift the trophy for the eighth time; they also claimed the North Hampshire Senior Cup, as well as the Isthmian League South Central Division title.
AFC Totton hosted Hartley Wintney in the Quarter-Finals of the same competition in February 2017. A header from Darren Knight gave The Stags a 15th-minute lead, but two goals in four minutes by Ross Cook had The Row in front at half-time. Nine minutes into the second half, Sam Argent converted from the penalty spot to put the tie to bed to the tune of a 3-1 victory for the visitors.
By Ben Rochey-Adams and Malcolm Tombs (Club Historian)