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River Card Gives Stags Nap Hand

Saturday, April 6 . Snows Stadium

AFC Totton 5 (Lee 6, 26, 60, Luque 55, Taylor 63)

Tiverton Town 0

Pitching In Southern League, Premier Division South

 

THE Yellows’ survival hopes took a slight turn for the worse as they were soundly beaten by a Totton side who, with this result, maintain fourth place in the division. Fortunately for Tivvy, their fellow relegation rivals in the division either drew or lost so no really serious damage was inflicted on us, points wise.

 

However a second red card in as many games means the squad is already weakened for the next three games. More about that later...

 

Manager Leigh Robinson restored Alex Fletcher and Javan Wright to his list of starters and this meant that Alfie Moulden and Carlo Garside took their places amongst the substitutes.

 

The action began with both teams trading early attacks although the first meaningful one came the sixth minute from the Stags. A speculative effort from Ethan Taylor was parried by goalkeeper Zak Baker, but the instinctive Tony Lee followed up, ruthlessly slotted home, and Totton were one up.

 

A few minutes later, Tiverton responded and carved out an opportunity for Joe Parker, but he could only fire his shot to the centre of the goal. This made it a routine save for home ’keeper Josh Gould.

 

We were building nicely through the team and causing concern for the Stags’ backline.

Totton themselves looked good in possession and created a few half-chances. Then, after a neat bit of control and lay-off from Fletcher into the path of an onrushing Tivvy player, we were awarded an obvious penalty as the ball that found its way into the box caused a defender to instantly foul with a goal looking the likely outcome for the Yellows.

 

Parker’s spot-kick was hit with power but was a decent height for Gould who guessed right and palmed away.

 

To rub salt into the wound, moments later the hosts extended their lead. This time Taylor fizzed a cross in and Lee was there with a diving header to make Tivvy go further behind. That goal arrived on 26 minutes and our task was beginning to look a lot harder.

 

With the players trying to get back into the game, River Allen went in aggressively on Lee, missing the ball and making heavy contact on the prolific striker. The contact was deemed reckless and a fairly disastrous visit to Hampshire had now become a nightmare as the Tiverton midfielder was shown a red card.

River Allen: Sent off

As part of the ten-men restructure, Fletcher was sacrificed for Garside and the Yellows navigated their way to the break without further damage – a chance to regroup and lots to talk about in the dressing room.

 

Unfortunately, it only took ten second-half minutes for Totton to grab their third. With the Stags on top, Joan Luque drove a shot through a crowd of Tiverton players and, despite Baker getting a hand on Luque’s effort, it was not enough to stop the ball from going into his net.

 

The hosts sensed blood and the visitors were visibly crumbling when Lee added a fourth and completed a superb hat-trick just after the hour mark, tucking the ball away comfortably after it was squared to him inside the area.

 

Hot on the heels of that goal was Totton’s fifth, Ethan Taylor stroking home after he was found by Lee. Keeping a respectable scoreline and playing with some pride was all that was left for Tiverton.

 

In that frantic and disheartening eight minutes in which we conceded three goals, Leigh Robinson made his final two changes: Parker was replaced by Moulden and Jack Rice made way for Marcio Neves.

 

For the remainder of proceedings, the Yellows did well to withstand more pressure from the Stags and enjoyed a good spell themselves in the last 20 minutes of the game. Neves, in particular, enjoyed a bright cameo with some skilful manoeuvring of the ball. Niall Thompson and Dylan Jones were also to the fore.

 

However, in all truth, the game was long gone before then.There is little time to dwell on this loss as Gosport – the second-placed team in the league – visit us on Tuesday, and then title-winners Chesham arrive on Saturday.

 

We will find out a lot about the players during these two encounters and hope that we can rise to the occasion on both days. Without key players through suspensions, the squad will need to pull together.

 

 

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