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Evo-Stik Southern League 2018/19

Division 1 South

 

AFC Totton  0 – 2  Cirencester Town

During a highly competitive encounter ‘The Centurions’ produced two superb second half strikes to take the 3 points on offer at ‘play-off’ hopefuls AFC Totton.

Prior to this match ‘The Stags’ sat in 8th place in the league table, with at least a game in hand on many of the teams above them, and a positive result against Cirencester (4th) would increase their chances of making the ‘play-off’ places so another tough encounter was anticipated.  Earlier in the season the sides fought out a 1-1 draw at The Corinium Stadium and current form, based on the ‘6-Match Form Guide Table’, places Cirencester 3rd and AFC Totton 4th to back this up.

 

The home side started very positively as they worked an opening for Alex Haynes within the first minute but his shot from the edge of the Cirencester penalty area was blocked to be recycled to the left flank for Jack Masterton to deliver a cross from the corner to the back post where it was intercepted before it reached Stuart Green.   

A couple of minutes later Cirencester were awarded a free kick near half way that was fed to Aidan Bennett who slipped it to Ellis Dunton, left side edge of the home box, who shimmied past a couple of markers before crossing towards the far post – but too high for the incoming Tommy Anderson.

During the next few minutes Masterton was heavily involved for the home side as he dribbled the ball down the left flank to the corner to cross and then received a cross-field pass from Craig Feeney that he returned for the striker to head into the grateful hands of ‘keeper Sam Ayres.

After this initial surge from Totton the visitors began to settle and work the ball forward to win a corner kick from the right followed shortly afterwards by a raking pass from Mike Pook that opened up the left flank as Owen Windsor pressed to win a throw-in near the corner. The throw enabled Dunton to cross to the far post - eventually returning to the left channel where Dunton’s left footed volley from 25 yards was wide of the target.

By the 15 minute mark the game was becoming ‘end-to-end’ as Feeney had his cross blocked by Babz Jarra in the right corner to concede a corner kick that Masterton sent to the back post for Dunton to collect and send down the right channel for Jack Freeman to move on to Alan Griffin who in turn released Windsor for a charge into the left channel of the home penalty area where he fired narrowly wide of the far right post.   

Shortly after the mid-point of the half Cirencester were awarded a free kick on their right flank that Freeman delivered to the penalty spot where Justin Bennett headed clear leading to a period of pressure as Pook launched a long throw into the box that was eventually recovered for Anderson and Aidan Bennett to cross from the right by-line to the near post where it was blocked for a corner kick. Jack Freeman delivered the kick to the area just in front of the 6 yard box where ‘keeper Shane Murphy punched out to Aidan Bennett who fired a left footed volley wide from just outside the box.

At the half hour mark Windsor crossed from the right for Griffin to head into the hands of Murphy and this seemed to prompt another surge from Totton as Green charged down the centre to reach the left channel of the Cirencester penalty area before shooting but Ayres had advanced to parry his effort.

Shortly afterwards Chugg headed a corner kick narrowly wide of the right post.

Not to be outdone in this enthralling encounter Cirencester responded as Aidan Bennett cut right from the left channel, 30 yards out, to shoot narrowly past the left post and then Dunton produced a mazy dribble on the edge of the home box before slipping the ball right to be fed to Anderson in the right corner who slid a low cross that just evaded Freeman at the near post.

As the half was drawing to a close there was still time for Dave Allen to fire over the Cirencester bar and a Griffin header to be saved by Murphy.

Half Time:  0-0

The home side came out of the blocks very positively after the break as within the first ten minutes they had had a corner kick, Will Christopher had defended a dangerous Justin Bennett pass inside him for Feeney to chase, Justin Bennett had also headed a corner kick over the bar from near the penalty spot, Dunton had nicked the ball off Feeney’s toe as he shaped to shoot and Masterton had fired wide of the right post.

On the hour mark Cirencester responded as Dunton launched the ball down the left flank for Windsor to chase, collect and cut right into the home penalty area where he was knocked to the ground resulting in a penalty kick. After a delay, as Green remonstrated with the Referee before being awarded a Yellow Card, Griffin stepped up to drive his kick against the top of the crossbar.

Relieved, Totton pressed for the next few minutes with Eddie Perrett having a shot blocked and Robin Nicholls a cross from the right corner defended and it looked like Cirencester may have missed their chance but it all changed a few minutes later when Dunton delivered a cross from the left flank to the penalty spot where OWEN WINDSOR produced a spectacular, instinctive scissor kick to volley the ball home.  0-1.

The home side reacted positively to the setback to press down the left flank for Nicholls to fire over from 35 yards before Justin Bennett failed to make good contact with a cross just outside the 6 yard box enabling Ayres to gather.

As is often the case when under pressure the side doing the pressing is vulnerable to a quick counter and when Dunton won the ball near the front edge of his box he was able to make significant ground down the left channel before switching play to the breaking Anderson as he charged forward down the right channel in support – collecting the pass just outside the home penalty area. Once in the area Anderson dummied to shoot, avoided the covering challenge, to then shoot from the right front corner of the 6 yard box – blocked for a corner kick.

Jack Freeman sent the corner kick towards the far post, in line with the edge of the 6 yard box and level with the penalty spot, where ALAN GRIFFIN, back to goal, struck a sensational overhead volley into the top left corner.  0-2.      

Totton continued to press to the end, winning a series of corner kicks as the game drew to a close, but Cirencester were in determined mood and dangerous on the break to keep them on their toes and ultimately secured victory with a solid team performance.  

Full Time:   0-2

 

Another entertaining game for the neutral - full of endeavour and commitment from two competitive sides with two tremendous strikes as a bonus.

 

Special mention for two stalwarts:-

Adam Connolly defended solidly all afternoon to mark his 150th appearance for the Club whilst Alan Griffin scored a sensational goal to mark his 100th appearance.

 

 

Attendance:  263                                 

Referee:   Barrie Small             

 

AFC TOTTON:

1.   Shane Murphy
2.   Alex Haynes
3.   Eddie Perrett
4.   Dave Allen
5.   Callum Chugg
6.   Jack Smith
7.   Stuart Green
8.   Robin Nicholls
9.   Craig Feeney
10.  Justin Bennett
11.  Jack Masterton     (C) 

12.  Oliver Bradley                                (Callum Chugg-75mins)                        
14.  Jason Brookes
15.  Connor York                                   (Eddie Perrett-72mins)
16.  Adam Wilde

CIRENCESTER TOWN:

1.   Sam Ayres
2.   Will Christopher
3.   Ellis Dunton
4.   Mike Pook
5.   Baboucarr Jarra
6.   Jack Freeman
7.   Tommy Anderson
8.   Adam Connolly
9.   Alan Griffin     (C)                                      81
10.  Owen Windsor                                         71
11.  Aidan Bennett 

12.  Louis Spalding
14.  Jordan Morris                                (Owen Windsor-86mins)
15.  James Mortimer-Jones                             
16.  Scott Rose  (GK)
17.  Charlie Griffin

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