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Whole New Ball Game

Pitching In Southern League, Premier Division South

Tiverton Town v AFC Totton

Saturday, March 9 . The Ian Moorcroft Stadium . 3pm


THERE will be only seven weeks of the season left after this Saturday's game against Totton and it will be imperative, given the position that we are in, that we make our home games count.


We have not been embarrassed at the Ian Moorcroft Stadium but, with only three victories in the Premier South on home soil, opposing teams will not have been arriving in Tiverton with much fear.


I can think of many appealing reasons to attend this game: Alex Fletcher back in Yellow in front of the home fans; Joe Parker who, amazingly, has only played once at Ladysmead because of the weather, but memorably helped himself to a brace on that occasion; not to mention the renewal of the impressive goalkeeper Zak Baker’s loan from Plymouth Argyle, until the end of the campaign.

Joe Parker: Two goals in his only Ladysmead performance so far

Add to that the addition of exciting Portuguese attacking player Marcio Neves and the return of captain Jamie Richards from suspension and, for those attending, it should be a good place to be for a game of football.


Remarkably, the two teams have yet to meet this term but, if the Yellows prevail, it will be their strongest result of the season.


Promoted from Division 1 South last season, AFC Totton have been a real force in Premier South and are sitting comfortably in a play-off place. I am sure that the signing of goal machine Tony Lee from Poole was done with promotion aspirations in mind.


Having beaten Salisbury and Merthyr, along with drawing against league leaders Chesham, there are clear indications that this side will be a tough nut to crack. However, the Yellows cannot afford to be affected by reputations.

Alex Fletcher: Back in Yellow

Lewis Noice is Totton’s No.1 and has established himself in that position. He is now into his fourth season with the Stags, while veteran striker Scott Rendell has fashioned 17 league goals from 27 games. The 37-year-old had a notable EFL career, playing for Peterborough, Torquay, Wycombe, Yeovil, Oxford United and Bristol Rovers. He also played with distinction in the National League/Conference for the likes of Cambridge United, Aldershot, Luton Town, Crawley Town and Woking. With more than 200 career goals from just over 600 games, the Yellows will need to be fully alert.


Jimmy Ball

Defender Jordan Raguette is highly thought of by the Stags and has gone beyond 100 appearances for the club. Previously at Gosport Borough, he is a mainstay in Totton’s backline. Charlie Kennedy, 27, is another with great non-league experience. The former Salisbury skipper is very adaptable and can anchor the midfield or play as a central defender. Having started at Barnet, his cv also includes Hayes & Yeading, Basingstoke and Gosport.


Manager Jimmy Ball comes from good stock, the son of World Cup winner and football legend, midfielder Alan Ball. Jimmy has excellent pedigree managerially, having been assistant manager with League Two Stevenage and interim manager at Forest Green. His coaching career has also seen him work in Stoke City and Blackburn Rovers Academies.


His side are eight games unbeaten in the league, having narrowly won at Didcot in their last outing. The Yellows’ never-say-die attitude earned them a point last Saturday at Supermarine in a game in which they overturned a 2-0 deficit with two added-time goals.


In order for Tiverton to get a positive result from this game, Leigh Robinson’s men will need to rise to the challenge and, as fans, we need to get behind the lads.


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