Saturday, 24 September 2011

Top 5 League Goals So Far This Season IMO

For those of you not down with the kids and therefore unfamiliar with shortened 'text speak', which is essentially now just acronyms, 'IMO' means 'in my opinion'. Like 'LOL' means 'laugh out loud' or 'BRB' means 'be right back', or 'WTF' get the picture.

Basically, these are the best goals we've scored in the league so far this season in my opinion. As there is little or no video footage of any of these goals, they have been accurately recreated with the magic of Microsoft Paint. If you can think of other goals which didn't make it into my top 5, you can of course voice your displeasure at their exclusion in the comments section below. Please note that all complaints will be ignored. Also, anyone who criticises my artwork will be shot down in a tirade of abusive language. :-)

So here we go:

Number Five

Mike Gosney v Oxford City (Home, Tues 16 Aug 2011)

With Totton already 4-0 up, this game was pretty much a foregone conclusion. A brilliant flowing passing move 10 minutes into the second half ended with Gosney receiving the ball on the edge of the area, taking it past one defender and firing a fierce shot past City goalkeeper Jason Mooney that went in off the underside of the crossbar. I do love a goal that rattles the woodwork on it's way in, like Tony Yeboah for Leeds against Wimbledon in 1995. Smashing.

Number Four

Michael Charles v St Albans City (Away, Tuesday 13 Sept 2011)

Totton had fallen behind early in this one but stormed back to take a 3-1 half time lead. But St Albans quickly got themselves back in it with a goal seconds after the break to make it 3-2. But as quickly as they reduced the deficit, Totton increased it again. From Matt Oldring's cross, Michael Charles controlled the ball with his chest and, with his back to goal, hit a lovely volley (lovely is an anagram of volley! I just noticed that) over his shoulder and inside the post for 4-2.

Number Three

Ryan Hill v Barwell (Home, Sat 3 Sept 2011)

After Barwell had wasted more time than Abu Hamza takes when tying his shoes, the referee played 9 minutes of added time. And in the seventh of those, Totton grabbed the winning goal and all 3 points when Ryan Hill's 30-yard free kick found the bottom corner. Cracking timing, and a goal right out of the top drawer.

Number Two

Nathaniel Sherborne v Barwell (Home, Sat 3 Sept 2011)

The penultimate goal comes from the same game as number three. Sherby's quality finish from outside the box gave Totton a 10th minute lead against Barwell. After receiving the ball out on the right wing, he cut inside, dodged his marker and sent a superb curling strike into the far top corner with Barwell  keeper Liam Castle well beaten. Despite how he is depicted below, Liam Castle's left arm is not twice as long as his right arm in real life as far as I'm aware.

Number One

Matt Oldring v St Albans City (Away, Tues 13 Sept 2011)

So here it is, number one. The best goal Totton have scored so far this season (in my opinion). Totton had already equalised after falling behind to Tobi Jinadu's 3rd minute goal for St Albans when Matt Oldring produced a quality finish to give The Stags the lead. From Mike Gosney's long throw in, Nathan Campbell rose above his marker to head the ball on to Oldring in the box who took a touch to flick the ball up in front of him, then swivelled and hit a sweet volley on his right foot into the far top corner over the head of the defender on the line. You'll notice one of the players is wearing a top hat. I got bored. Don't begrudge me a bit of artistic license.

So there we are. As I said previously, if you believe any other goals were overlooked then do feel free to tell me by commenting below. Not that it will change anything. I've already made my decisions. Hard cheese.

I will compile another selection of top notch goals at the start of December, after our next 9 league games. At the end of the season I might do a round up of the best goals scored in cup competitions across the whole season. Maybe. If you behave yourselves. We'll see.

Monday, 19 September 2011

FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round: AFC Totton 2-0 Fleet Town, 17/09/11 3pm


Totton took a break from league duty this week as Fleet Town visited the Testwood Stadium for an FA Cup 1st qualifying round tie. Fleet got to this round after beating Alton Town 4-3 in the last preliminary round. Before kick off there was a presentation on the pitch as James Fallon, who owns Totton's new shirt sponsor, Beaumont Water Heaters, was presented to the crowd and posed for a photo with a shirt with the new logo on it. Stuart Ritchie fielded a strong team in this game with the only change from the victory at St Albans in midweek being Jon Davies coming back into midfield in the place of James Coutts, who dropped to the bench.

Fleet began the game with a free kick 25 yards out that was well over the bar. Soon after and Totton threatened at the other end. From a corner, Sherborne got his head on the ball but was denied by an excellent save from Andy Bayliss to turn it behind, and from the second corner Campbell's effort was wide of the post. Mike Gosney then provided Sherborne with a great chance to open the scoring when his low cross just evaded the striker's boot and the ball went out for a goal kick.

After 10 minutes Totton got a free kick 25 yards from goal out wide on the left. Ryan Hill whipped the ball into the box but Sherborne's header was over the bar and landed on the roof of the net. Michael Charles then did well to get in front of his marker to meet Jon Davies' cross with a header that went high and wide. After a couple more chances for both sides, the breakthrough finally came after 24 minutes when Totton were awarded a penalty. Mike Gosney (who else?) despatched the spot kick for his 8th goal in all competitions this season.

Soon after the penalty Totton came close to a second. Matt Oldring, who scored his first goal for The Stags in the 4-3 win at St Albans during the week, ran forward with the ball and, with no other options in front of him, unleashed a powerful shot from 25 yards that sailed just inches over the crossbar. Oldring was involved again just after the half-hour mark when his cross found Gosney in the box but his shot was wide of goal. Moments later goalscorer Gosney turned provider when Sherborne latched onto his low driven cross to fire a rasping shot past Bayliss in the Fleet goal from the edge of the box.

Half time: AFC Totton 2-0 Fleet Town

With 7 minutes gone in the second half, Gosney almost got himself a second goal in bizarre fashion when his cross from the left hit the crossbar and went over for a goal kick. 2 minutes later Gosney set up Davies 12 yards out but he couldn't connect properly with the ball and ended up slicing his shot well wide of goal. Gosney continued to set up plenty of Totton chances and on 73 minutes his low cross towards Sherborne was intercepted by a Fleet defender who nearly scored an own goal when he deflected the ball just wide.

Substitute Mark Osman then put Gosney through on goal and he drew a smart save from Bayliss as he turned the ball around the post. From the resulting corner Nathan Campbell rose highest to head the ball just over the bar. A minute later, Campbell headed over the bar again after good work by Carl Pettefer and Ryan Hill down the right wing.

With 7 minutes remaining Fleet could have given themselves a late lifeline when a shot from distance was headed off the line by Ryan Hill. And with 2 minutes to go, substitute Aidan Lewis came close to getting his first goal of the season when he ran onto Gosney's cross but he could only shoot over from close range with just Bayliss to beat.

Full time: AFC Totton 2-0 Fleet Town

A professional display from Totton who scored 2 goals in 11 first half minutes and then saw the game out comfortably whilst still creating plenty of chances to score, and were it not for Fleet goalkeeper Andy Bayliss and some wayward finishing from the home side, it could have been a much heavier defeat for The Blues. After this win, Totton were drawn away to Clevedon Town in the next round of the FA Cup. Clevedon's record against Totton in the South & West Division last season was a 2-2 draw and a 1-0 win, so this is by no means an easy tie for The Stags. It will be played on Saturday 1st October, 3pm at the Hand Stadium, Clevedon. But before that, we entertain Hitchin Town at the Testwood Stadium on Saturday 24th September for a 3pm kickoff.

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Richardson, Whisken, Oldring, Davies (Lewis 90), Pettefer, Campbell, Gosney, Sherborne (Coutts 90), Charles (Osman 71). Unused subs: Casey, Baddeley, Tomasso, Abe.

Fleet Town: Bayliss, Rousell, Hutchings, Riddell, Wilson, George (Wynter 65), Pilgrim, Davis, Knowles (Fairless 65), Odeh, King (Campbell 84). Unused subs: Smalley, Walker.

Goals: AFC Totton: Gosney (24 penalty), Sherborne (35).

Officials: Referee: Mr C Wade. Assistants: Mr A Linford & Mr J Rake.

Attendance: 394.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

St Albans City 3-4 AFC Totton, 13/09/11 7:45pm


After the fantastic 3-0 win at big-spending Brackley Town on Saturday, Totton were on a real high going into this Tuesday evening game against another team tipped to be near the top at the business end of the season. While Totton beat Brackley, Danny Hart and Jerome Walker scored to give St Albans a 2-0 home win over Redditch United. Totton switched back to 4-4-2 for this game after starting with a five-man midfield against Brackley. Nathaniel Sherborne and Michael Charles started together up front, but there were changes in midfield, where James Coutts came in for Jon Davies on the right, and at the back Matt Oldring started at left back instead of Tom Baddeley after his impressive display on Saturday.

St Albans got off to the perfect start in this game when, with just 3 minutes on the clock, Ryan Watts sent in a low cross that was turned home from close range by Tobi Jinadu. Totton responded well to this early setback and had a good chance after 5 minutes when Michael Charles headed over from James Coutts' cross to the far post. A foul on Charles 20 yards from goal in the 10th minute then gave The Stags a free kick. Ryan Hill took it and sent a low shot towards the bottom corner which Saints goalkeeper Will Viner did well to get down to and turn away from goal. Sherborne got to the ball first from the rebound but was flagged for offside.

But Totton didn't have long to wait to grab an equaliser. Charles played a perfect through ball for Sherborne to run onto and he slotted the ball just inside the post. Totton were level for just under 10 minutes before taking the lead for the first time in the game. Mike Gosney launched a long throw-in towards Nathan Campbell in the box. Campbell flicked the ball on with his head and it fell to left back Matt Oldring who had come forward for a corner moments previously. Oldring took one touch to flick the ball up in front of him and then swivelled to send a brilliant volley into the top corner over the head of the defender on the line with Viner rooted to the spot.

The game continued to be quite even between the two teams until the 38th minute when the most significant moment of the game so far occurred. From a Gosney corner, Jamie Whisken sent a header towards goal but the ball was blocked on the line by the arm of defender Jack Pattison. Referee Adrian Gillett had no hesitation in giving Pattison his marching orders and pointing to the spot. Viner went the right way but was never getting to the ball as Gosney's penalty had too much pace and power on it as it found the bottom corner.

Half time: St Albans City 1-3 AFC Totton

St Albans started the second half the same way they started the first; with a goal. A cross into the box was headed down by half-time substitute Barrie Matthews and Tobi Jinadu shot past Grant Porter for his and his team's second goal of the game. But as quickly as The Saints had got themselves back into the game, they were back out of it again. Matt Oldring crossed from the left to Michael Charles in the box who took the ball on his chest and sent a volley over his shoulder and into the top corner for 4-2.

For the remainder of the match the 10 men of St Albans completely outplayed Totton's 11 men. And their superiority paid off with 10 minutes to go. A long ball through the middle split the Totton defence and Sakho Bakare ran onto it to slide the ball past the on-rushing Grant Porter and give the home fans hope in the dying minutes.

Totton continued to be pegged back and Grant Porter was booked for time-wasting over a goal kick. The Stags tried to waste a bit more time by holding the ball in the corner for as long as possible but lost the ball every time. Fortunately the Totton defence stood firm against the late onslaught and we held on for all 3 points.

Full time: St Albans City 3-4 AFC Totton

Totton were lucky not to come away with just a point from this game. And, credit to St Albans, it would have been a deserved point for them as they put Totton under constant pressure in the second half as they tried to get themselves back in the game. At times it looked like it was The Stags who were a man short and not The Saints, who were superb and will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season. Next up for Totton is an FA Cup qualifier against Evo-Stik Division One Central strugglers Fleet Town. The tie will be played at the Testwood Stadium this Saturday at 3pm.

St Albans City: Viner, Pattison, Ralph, Ijaha, Cutchey, Jinadu, Hart, Solomon Shields (Matthews 46 mins), Haworth (Bakare 45), Walker (Sean Shields 71), Watts. Unused subs: Jupp, Haisley.

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Richardson, Whisken, Oldring, Coutts (Davies 56), Pettefer, Campbell, Gosney, Sherborne (Baddeley 85), Charles (Osman 71). Unused subs: Lewis, Tomasso.

Goals: St Albans: Jinadu (3 & 48), Bakare (80).
          AFC Totton: Sherborne (13), Oldring (22), Gosney (38 penalty), Charles (49).

Officials: Referee: Mr A Gillett. Assistants: Mr A Groves & Mr S Borham.

Attendance: 329.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Brackley Town 0-3 AFC Totton, 10/09/2011 3pm


Totton travelled to Brackley for a top-of-the-table clash. The Stags are still 1st, while our hosts today, Brackley sit in 2nd place, 2 points behind. The Saints drew 1-1 away at Frome Town in their last game, while Totton beat Barwell 2-1 at home. Tom Baddeley was unavailable for Totton in this game, so Matt Oldring was brought in to fill the left back spot in the only change to the defence. Nathaniel Sherborne started up front on his own in a 4-5-1 formation, with James Coutts starting in the centre of midfield alongside Carl Pettefer and Nathan Campbell. Jon Davies and Mike Gosney on the wings made up the midfield. Brackley were the bookies' favourites to win the league this season, so it promised to be a difficult game, but Totton more than stood up to the challenge...

For the first 5 minutes, the game was very end to end. Brackley had 2 or 3 good chances to score through Owen Story, Francis Green and Elliot Sandy, but Grant Porter was in inspired form in the Totton goalmouth. And Brackley were soon made to pay for missing those early chances when their captain Chris Willmott tripped Nathaniel Sherborne in the box as he tried to turn and shoot, and referee Rob Ellis pointed to the spot. Mike Gosney, who missed his last penalty against Swindon Supermarine, stepped up to smash the ball past Jon Bond who got a hand to it but couldn't keep it out.

Soon after the penalty, Sherborne had a half chance when he intercepted a weak back-pass but fired wide with only Bond to beat. From then on it was one way traffic as Brackley put the Totton defence under constant pressure. Brett Solkhon was denied by a goal-line clearance after a cross from Tom Winters, and then Owen Story couldn't find the net when his shot was deflected behind for a corner by Ian Richardson. Story came close again just before half time when his shot across goal was just wide of the far post.

Half time: Brackley Town 0-1 AFC Totton

Brackley picked up where they had left off before the break as they continued to create chances, including a decent long-range strike from Tom Winters that wasn't far away. But the game changed on the hour mark when some poor defending resulted in Nathaniel Sherborne being put clean through on goal and, as Jon Bond rushed off his line to close Sherborne down, the striker poked the ball through the keeper's legs to double The Stags' lead, very much against the run of play.

5 minutes later, Jon Davies tried his luck when he spotted Bond off his line and attempted to lob the ball up and over the keeper, but it landed on the roof of the net. With just under 20 minutes to go the game took another twist when Brackley defender Francis Green brought down Ryan Hill with a hefty looking challenge and the referee had no hesitation in brandishing his red card and dismissing Green for the foul.

Totton tried to make the extra man count in the time that remained. Carl Pettefer and Jon Davies both had efforts saved by Bond in the last 10 minutes. Brackley substitute Michael Chennells could have got a consolation for his side when he directed Winters' cross goal-wards only to be denied by Porter. And it was Totton's own substitute Michael who settled the contest. Michael Charles came off the bench to pounce on a defensive error and expertly slot the ball into the bottom corner to round off a fantastic day for The Stags.

Full time: Brackley Town 0-3 AFC Totton

This was a thoroughly impressive victory for Totton against a Brackley side who have spent big. But The Stags proved that money can't buy everything as they overcame a strong team to take all 3 points. We didn't have it all our own way and were very much on the back foot for large portions of the game, but in the end it's the scoreline and not the percentage of possession that counts. Next up is another away game at St Albans City on Tuesday 13th September for a 7:45pm kick off.

Brackley Town: Bond, Clifton (Gould 63 mins), Myles, Green, Willmott, Magunda, Story (Chennells 79), Solkhon, Louis (Diggin 70), Sandy, Winters. Unused subs: Dempsey, Murrell.

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Whisken, Richardson, Oldring, Davies (Lewis 89), Campbell, Pettefer, Coutts, Gosney, Sherborne (Charles 85). Unused subs: Tomasso, Brown.

Goals: AFC Totton: Gosney (8), Sherborne (55), Charles (90).

Officials: Referee: Mr R Ellis. Assistants: Mr B Whitty & Mr K Norris.

Attendance: 285.

Monday, 5 September 2011

AFC Totton 2-1 Barwell, 03/09/11 3pm


After getting back to winning ways against Weymouth on Monday, Totton faced Barwell at the Testwood Stadium hoping to continue our fantastic start to the season. The Stags were missing Mike Gosney who had an eye complaint, and striker Stefan Brown who had a minor neck injury. Aidan Lewis, making his first start of the season, started on the right with Jon Davies switching to the left in Gosney's absence, while Michael Charles and Nathaniel Sherborne started together up front. Barwell had victory snatched from them at the death in their last game as Stourbridge scored a late equaliser to draw 2-2.

Totton continued their trend of scoring early goals this season when, in the 10th minute, Nathaniel Sherborne cut inside from wide on the right and curled a superb shot into the far top corner that gave Barwell keeper Liam Castle no chance. Jon Davies could have doubled the lead almost immediately when his similar effort from the opposite side flew just wide of the post.

In a rare Barwell attack, Kevin Charley had a shot on goal but it was straight at Grant Porter and the keeper made an easy catch. Liam Castle then came to Barwell's rescue when a Ryan Hill free kick from the left was met by Michael Charles, but his header from 5 yards out was saved at point-blank range by Castle and the ball was cleared. Charles put another header wide 2 minutes later.

With 10 minutes to go until half time, Barwell began to put pressure on the Totton defence. Jamie Towers crossed to Kevin Charley and his shot was saved well by Porter. Moments later, however, Barwell were given a way back into the match. Ryan Hill was alleged to have fouled Jai Stanley in the box as he tried to shoot and Scott Rickards stepped up to despatch the spot kick and send Porter the wrong way. Hill himself was then denied a penalty when he went down in the area up the other end of the pitch but the referee waved play on. In the last few seconds of the first half, Rickards took a corner kick that struck the near post and went out for a goal kick.

Half time: AFC Totton 1-1 Barwell

Not long into the second half, Totton could have regained the lead. The ball was played down the right for Michael Charles to chase but Canaries keeper Liam Castle rushed out of his goal to get there first. His clearance fell to Jon Davies 40 yards out and he could have tried to score with Castle out on the right leaving his goal unguarded but Davies played the ball in-field to try and set up an attack that lead to nothing as Castle got back on his line.

Totton were then close to scoring in bizarre fashion when, following a stoppage for an injury, the referee instructed Sherborne to play the ball back to Liam Castle in the Barwell goal. Sherborne sent the ball back towards Castle, but it was hit with considerable force and cannoned off the corner of the goal frame where the post and crossbar meet. With 65 minutes on the clock, Barwell were reduced to 10 men. Jai Stanley, who had already been booked, brought down Davies in midfield and the referee gave him his marching orders, much to the delight of the home crowd, as they felt Stanley should have gone 2 or 3 times before his eventual red card.

With just under 20 minutes remaining, Totton substitute Mark Osman headed against the bar from a cross from the right, and then 3 minutes later shot past the post when through on goal with only Castle to beat. Totton were then denied a possible goalscoring opportunity by the officials. Nathaniel Sherborne was in an offside position when Carl Pettefer played a defence-splitting pass through the middle. As the linesman raised his flag Davies ran onto it from an onside position. The linesman lowered his flag but the referee blew for offside against Sherborne who was nowhere near the ball and not interfering with play.

There was a fair chunk of added time at the end of the game as Barwell had taken their time with substitutions and there were stoppages for injuries on both teams. In the 7th minute of added time Guy Sanders conceded a free kick 30 yards from goal. With no Mike Gosney in the side it was up to Totton's other dead-ball specialist Ryan Hill to produced the goods. And produce he did. He stepped up to take the free kick and sent the ball perfectly into the bottom corner past the outstretched fingertips of Liam Castle to win the game for The Stags and send the home fans wild.

Full Time: AFC Totton 2-1 Barwell

What a way to win a game. Ryan Hill's 97th minute free kick and Jai Stanley's dismissal were the difference between the two sides in this game. Totton showed that when we need to, we can win ugly, and that even without 2 or 3 first team regulars, the players we have on the bench and in reserve are more than capable of being part of a side good enough to beat teams in this league. The next game is Saturday 10th September when The Stags travel to Brackley Town for a clash between 2nd and 1st place.

AFC Totton: Porter, Hill, Whisken, Richardson, Baddeley (Oliver 90 mins), Lewis, Pettefer, Campbell, J Davies, Charles (Osman 63), Sherborne. Unused subs: Oldring, C Davies, Flooks.

Barwell: Castle, Stanley, Dodd, Sanders, Rowley, Rickards, Towers (Hamilton 83), Hadland, Barlone (Harris 76), Charley (Pearson 80), Julien. Unused subs: Lower, Green.

Goals: AFC Totton: Sherborne (10), Hill (90+7)
           Barwell: Richards (37 pen)

Officials: Referee: Mr A Bird. Assistants: Mr N Sykes & Mr M Yeats.

Attendance: 388.