Match Report -

Match Report - , by Roger Allen

Totton & Eling v AFC Stoneham 25/04/19

Totton & Eling 3 AFC Stoneham 3

AN 85th minute goal by skipper Sam Vidler [pen] completed a most remarkable comeback for Totton & Eling as his firmly despatched spot-kick took the scores to level-pegging at 3-3. Not too much earlier, the 70th minute to be precise, their visitors AFC Stoneham were literally in cruise control having dominated and built-up a most convincing 3-0 lead.

The match, the last to be played in the Sydenhams League (Wessex) Division 1 of the season, had consequences at both ends of the table as T&E needed a win to overtake Andover Town at the bottom whilst a point for the visitors would bring them the title and the only guaranteed promotion place; so there was all to play for. There were 276 ‘paying guests’ too!

Stoneham completely dominated the first half but, despite most of the play being in the home side’s half of the field, the Purples were lacking that goalscoring touch for most of it. Joe Sutherden blazed over whilst Alex Welch didn’t get a decent connection in the middle from a low left-wing ball played into the box. Home keeper Nathan Jones was alert to get down to a dangerous low Chris Manning cross whilst a further chance for Sutherden from 25-yards was too high. A Stoneham goal continued to look likely and it came in the 41st minute when Zach Glasspool received a throw from the left and turned adroitly before striking firm and high into the top far corner to net, a fine strike. Marcel Laptas had a further opportunity for Stoneham in first half stoppage time, but Jones was out swiftly to block. HT: 0-1.

The Purples got a second goal within four minutes of the restart, beginning with their keeper Fredericks saving from Wood and the ball went upfield to Josh Clark who was sent clear and fired home low. Jones managed to push a Glasspool shot round the post but from the corner, Laptas got it at the back stick and shot across the keeper, it was hacked off the line but only back into danger where Welch shot home from the follow up. So, 3-0 to Stoneham with a third of the game to play – it was looking like plain sailing for them!

The Millers won a 70th minute corner and the kick picked up a deflection and fell to Rory Wood to shoot home and pull a goal back, but there was still a long road ahead for the home side. Sergio Cabellero drove wildly for Stoneham, but the home side had renewed hope with their second goal in the 81st minute. It was Harry Burns who netted, receiving a pass from the right, he coolly ‘passed’ the ball back into the near corner with the keeper wrong footed. The Millers now had momentum and, when a clip in the box produced a penalty, Vidler duly obliged with the equaliser. The home side pushed forward which enabled Stoneham to break in an attempt for a late winner but Glasspool shot off the keeper. Shortly after, the same player jinked past a defender and set himself well only to fire wide. Cabellero also shot wide before this remarkable game, dominated by Stoneham for a long time, came to an end. FT: 3-3. What a breath-taking finish to the Wessex League season! (Gary Day)