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Saturday 30 July 2022

AFC TOTTON                                            1
Scott Rendell 64mins (pen)

BASINGSTOKE TOWN                         1
Unknown No.16 90mins

Visitors Basingstoke Town struck with virtually the last kick of the game to salvage a draw from their encounter with AFC Totton at the Snows Stadium yesterday (Saturday) afternoon, after Scott Rendell had put the Stags ahead from the penalty spot with his seventh goal in as many pre-season matches ahead of the 2022/23 season.

Having made his long-awaited return from injury as a substitute in the previous friendly against Aldershot Town on Tuesday night, Lewis Noice made his first start since mid-April. Michael Green returned to start at left-back in place of Jordan Ragguette, and Jake Adams slotted back into the midfield, with Lewis Waterfield dropping to the bench. Jack Masterton was named among the substitutes for the first time during this pre-season programme.

A team sheet was provided for Basingstoke Town but the shirt numbers listed on it did not correspond to those on the players’ backs, so their names will be omitted from this match report.

Pre-Match Greeting-1_AFC Totton vs Basingstoke Town_Pre-Season-7_30July2022.jpg

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

1.  Lewis NOICE
2.  Callum BAUGHAN
3.  Michael GREEN
4.  Mike CARTER
5.  Charlie KENNEDY
6.  Luke HALLETT
7.  Adam TOMASSO
8.  Jake ADAMS
10.  Scott RENDELL
11.  Ethan TAYLOR

12.  Enrique RUSSELL
15.  Yemi ODUBADE
16.  Freddie READ
17.  Harry MEDWAY

The Stoke, from the Isthmian League South Central Division on the same level of the English Football Pyramid as AFC Totton, got the match underway on a warm but overcast and breezy afternoon at the Snows Stadium, wearing white shirts, black shorts and white socks, with Totton in their usual all-blue home strip.

Midfielder Mike Carter got back into his own penalty area quickly to cut-out an early cross, after Luke Hallett’s ball out from the back was intercepted by a white shirt and directed out to the right flank. Shortly after, Michael Green curled a high ball from the half-way line for Jireh Oyebamiji to chase down as a central defender struggled with an awkward bounce. Oyebamiji managed to get the ball under control but there was no incoming support to receive a lay-off when he needed it.

Jireh Oyebamiji-1_AFC Totton vs Basingstoke Town_Pre-Season-7_30July2022.jpg
HANDFUL: Jireh Oyebamiji unsettled the Basingstoke Town defence.

Ethan Taylor’s immaculate touch to bring down Carter’s high diagonal was unfortunately not matched by the weight of his pass to Jake Adams, who was motoring forward on the right-hand side. He had to check his run to achieve the ball, allowing Basingstoke to get more players back into defensive areas.

The visitors got forward down their left wing, the low cross being well cut-out by Adam Tomasso, before Hallett thrust his body in the way of a follow-up shot from the edge of the box. Carter did well to track the flight of the ball and the runs of opponents around him to prevent a breakaway with a well-timed volley on the turn from half-way to redirect possession back to Hallett.

The home side should have taken the lead in the 11th minute, when they worked the ball out to the right flank for Baughan to float his cross to the near post. The unmarked Taylor got up well and made a good connection with his head but could only steer it narrowly wide of the right-hand upright, the ball bouncing off an advertising hoarding and rolling behind the net to give some fans the impression it had snuck inside the post.

Oyebamiji was having some joy in unsettling Basingstoke defenders, especially when he was able to isolate the last man and steal the ball away, only to be called up for an innocuous foul.

Stoke’s No.9 was keeping Lewis Noice honest whenever the ball went back to the Totton goalkeeper, harassing him into making quick decisions, which the Stags No.1 dealt with comfortably.

Adam Tomasso-1_AFC Totton vs Basingstoke Town_Pre-Season-7_30July2022.jpg
MIDFIELD HUSTLE: Adam Tomasso in possession for AFC Totton.

After a short break to allow a Basingstoke player to receive treatment to an injury, the game sparked back into life when Taylor’s well-struck ball from deep on the left was collected by Oyebamiji, who volleyed for goal on his right in-step, bringing an impressive reaction save from the Stoke keeper at the expense of a corner. Adams took it from the right wing and sent it high to the back post, where Charlie Kennedy had to stretch to get his head to it but could only direct the ball wide.

Green and Adams were linking up well to make progress down Totton’s left-hand side. Then, Hallett’s straight pass out of defence set Oyebamiji in near the inside-right, from where the young striker fired wide of the near post.

On 18 minutes, Green took a throw-in from the left touchline, mid-way inside the visitors’ half. Jake Adams, with a defender close at his back, allowed the ball to drop in front of him and then, with a sharp shimmy of the shoulders, turned away from his man towards the centre before curling a right-footed effort from around the D, which the keeper did well to catch.

Kennedy, Green and Noice just managed to deal with Basingstoke’s forwards closing them down as the Totton defensive trio moved the ball across their own penalty box. The away side soon had the ball in an advanced area, though, and Tomasso had to get his body in the way to prevent an ambitious overhead kick coming off from just beside the penalty spot.

Noice took a free-kick from mid-way inside his own half, sending the ball high from right-to-left to enable Rendell to knock down for Taylor to dart in behind the defence at inside-left. His low angled shot was parried away by the Basingstoke keeper and a defender made the clearance.

The visitors came close with a swift move out to their right and a curled cross into the box which was headed narrowly over the bar, but the forward was penalised for a shove in the back of Charlie Kennedy.

Striker Jireh Oyebamiji had to be withdrawn with a slight knock towards the end of the first half, with Lewis Waterfield coming on to replace him. Basingstoke’s No.12 was booked for pushing Baughan into the perimeter fence by the Totton right-back’s corner flag, as he shepherded the ball out of play.

Taylor was then presented with another golden opportunity to open the scoring when Jake Adams received the ball on the half-way line and bent his pass behind the last defender for Taylor to race onto and go clean through. But his shot was too close to the goalkeeper who thrust his arm up to make the block close to his penalty spot.

A well-timed interception prevented Lewis Waterfield getting in for Totton through the centre, during the last five minutes of the first half. Noice continued to be pressed by the Basingstoke attackers but he was able to cope and clear his lines without incident.

Lewis Noice-1_AFC Totton vs Basingstoke Town_Pre-Season-7_30July2022.jpg

BACK IN ACTION: AFC Totton goalkeeper Lewis Noice made his first start of the pre-season campaign.

AFC TOTTON                                             0
BASINGSTOKE TOWN                          0

Lewis Waterfield got into a dangerous position on the right wing early in the second half, but he miss-hit his cross with three teammates lining up in the centre. Then, a battle of the two No.8s in midfield was followed by a crunching tackle between the two No.7s, Adam Tomasso winning the ball on half-way with a strong sliding tackle to force the ball forward for Rendell, who was soon crowded out by white shirts. Taylor suffered a similar fate when trying to take on three Basingstoke defenders on the edge of the box, as they closed together to squeeze the space and halt his progress.

A square pass from the left-wing touchline by Adams found Waterfield unmarked, 20 yards out, but the midfielder dragged his shot to the left of goal, before Jimmy Ball sent on Yemi Odubade in place of Callum Baughan, to operate as a right wing-back in the 55th minute. And shortly after, Freddie Read, Harry Medway and Jack Masterton were all introduced with Michael Green, Jake Adams and Ethan Taylor making way.

Totton were awarded a penalty in the 64th minute when Scott Rendell got free on the left side of the penalty area and hooked the ball into the middle for the onrushing Freddie Read. There was a coming together between Read, the Basingstoke goalkeeper and a defender, the Referee deeming that Read had been pushed into the keeper, who needed treatment before the spot-kick could be taken. Scott RENDELL stepped up confidently to send the goalkeeper the wrong way and register his seventh goal in seven pre-season matches since joining AFC Totton.

Scott Rendell-4_AFC Totton vs Basingstoke Town_Pre-Season-7_30July2022.jpg
SEVEN-IN-SEVEN: Scott Rendell wheels away in celebration after putting AFC Totton ahead from the penalty spot against Basingstoke Town at the Snows Stadium.

Jack Masterton, playing his first football of the pre-season programme at left-back, intercepted a loose square pass across the middle of the Basingstoke half, passing to Read on the left before surging forward for a return pass, which was cut-out by a horde of white shirts.

Jack Masterton-2_AFCTotton vs Basingstoke Town_Pre-Season-7_30July2022.jpg
WELCOME BACK, JACK: Cultured ball player Jack Masterton has overcome a long period of injury to make his return in a blue shirt.

Harry Medway had to contend with a difficult bouncing ball while a forward snapped around the edge of his peripheral vision. Basingstoke were struggling to lay a glove on Totton, who had gone into their defensive shell to some extent, filling up space in their own half and proving to be difficult to play through. When they did find a pocket of space to exploit through the centre, Waterfield got back quickly to hook the through-ball away from danger.

A move instigated on the Basingstoke right had Kennedy throwing his body in the way to block a shot from the edge of the area. Medway demonstrated strength in the air to repel another attack from the visitor’s left-wing. Then, Lewis Noice reacted quickly to come off his line and make a low save with his legs when the Basingstoke No.7 was played into the inside-right channel.

Read and Odubade teamed up to pressure the Basingstoke left-back into coughing up possession at his own byline. Odubade advanced towards goal but ran aground against the second defender before he could provide a killer pass.

Basingstoke tried to burrow their way through massed ranks of blue shirts, until Medway cleared for the home side. Then, Hallett demonstrated bravery to track the flight of a ball out to the touchline where he met it with a firm defensive header, despite clattering into an opponent in the process.

The away side continued to press for an equaliser into the last 10 minutes. A cross from the right produced a header at the far side, which went high and wide. A tight turn on the ball by Waterfield enabled Odubade to clear the ball up the line, as the home side tried to hang on for the win.

Just when it seemed as though they had managed to do so, a surge into the Totton box from Basingstoke’s right presented their No.16 with the ball, and he fired low past Noice into the far corner to level the scores at one-all. And the Referee blew the final whistle before play could restart.

Jimmy Ball-2_Manager_AFC Totton vs Basingstoke Town_Pre-Season-7_30July2022.jpg

After the match, AFC Totton manager Jimmy Ball said:

“I thought it was a decent, robust match against a good side. Our players were made to work hard and will be all the fitter and stronger for it. As I’ve said throughout pre-season, these games are more about preparation and conditioning. We looked a bit leggy towards the end of the Aldershot game on Tuesday night, so getting 90 minutes into more legs today was welcome.

“In terms of the performance today, we weren’t quite as sharp in our football at times as we were against Aldershot or, believe it or not, against Havant. But we still had two golden opportunities to score another goal and could have come away with a 3-0 or 3-1 win. But if you’re going to miss those sort of chances, miss them in pre-season; as long as you score them when they really count.”

NEXT UP: AFC Totton vs Southampton on Tuesday, Kick-Off at 7:45pm

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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