Match Report -

Match Report - , by Ian Craig

Totton & Eling v Fleet Spurs

Totton & Eling 1 Fleet Spurs 5 (Sydenhams Wessex League Division 1) by John Porter

This was an excellent performance by Spurs, who won as comfortably as the score suggests, though it needed sharp finishing, particularly in the first half, and doughty defence for the last hour of the game to ensure they got their just deserts.  It may be significant that this week they were able to field a team that was unchanged from last week and that they had a full complement of substitutes.

Fleet gained the ascendancy from the kick-off and within 24 minutes had a three-goal lead, as they sliced through the Totton defence at will.  First, Dan Bone cut in from the left and shot low and hard towards the far post.  Keeper Matt Taylor parried the ball but Sam Knowles was able to pass the rebound accurately into the net.  Then Bone was again provider with a cross from the left and Knowles reacted quicker than the rather dozy Millers defence to to slip the ball home from close range.  Next, Knowles returned the compliment, pulling the ball unselfishly back from the right, which gave Bone the opportunity to score with a powerful left-foot drive.  At this stage, Spurs’ lead might indeed have been even more as they were creating chance upon chance.  The Totton management team needed to do something to stop the rot, and they dramatically made two substitutions in the 29th minute.  This move proved effective, as the Millers came more into the game and to win their fair share of the 50/50 balls.  They started to create a number of chances, but rarely threatened the Fleet goal.  Half-time score: 0-3.

In the second half, the game continued in a similar vein with Totton having most of the play, but unable to penetrate the Spurs defence.  Six minutes after the break, a Millers defender dawdled just outside the penalty area and Bone picked his pocket and hammered the ball past the helpless Taylor.  The Millers continued to press but resolute Fleet defence kept them out.  Spurs were looking dangerous on the break, and after 73 minutes, they again broke quickly, and Knowles crossed from the right to Bone who smashed the ball home via the underside of the crossbar.  Normal service was then resumed with Totton having the bulk of possession, but being thwarted by determined defence by Spurs including some good saves by Mark Appleby, and helped by some bad luck.  As the game moved into stoppage time, it looked as if Fleet were going to gain their second clean sheet of the season, but just before the end sub Matt Randall fired home a low shot after the Spurs defence had relaxed and failed to clear the ball properly.

Spurs have now risen one place to 15th in the league.  On Saturday (kick-off 3.00) they face a stern challenge at Kennels Lane against league leaders Hamble Club, who have only dropped five points this season.  This game should provide a good indication of whether their recent improved form is real or illusory.

Spurs team: Mark Appleby; Chris Barnes; Sam Lynham; Rob Colfer; Victor Mudonhi; Tom Slane (sub Jan Verhoeven 66); Dan Bone (sub Jack Moore 77); Michael Bertoux; Jamil Olweny (capt); Sam Knowles; Chris Rose (sub Adam Nash 57)