Southern League: AFC Totton steal Christmas joy from 10-man Lymington Town
Southern League Division One
AFC Totton 7
Lymington Town FC 1
IN the spirit of Christmas, Lymington – wearing red and white – came bearing gifts as AFC Totton picked up a resounding 7-1 victory at the Snows Stadium.
The local rivals had played each other twice previously, with wins shared. However, there was only one side in this contest after a 34th-minute red card to Nathan Hurst, which came with the match still goalless.
The win allowed the hosts to gain ground on league-leaders Frome Town, who drew 3-3 with Melksham Town.
Lymington started well, and Stags' keeper Lewis Noice was called into action in the first minute after a delightful cross into the area.
A subsequent Lymington attack, spearheaded by Dom Thelen and Nathan Hurst, ended with Freddie Bullard needing a few minutes to catch his breath after receiving the ball in a sensitive area before shooting for goal.
Totton settled into the match and create opportunities. Former Blackfield & Langley player Shaq Gwengwe was one of the home side's most threatening players, with the Lymington defence forced to double-up to keep him quiet.
But Lymington captain Nathan Hurst flipped the game on its head 10 minutes before the break with a two-footed challenge on left-back Ben Jefford.
Referee Peter Lowe showed no hesitation in producing the red card to reduce the visitors to 10.
After lengthy treatment, Jefford limped from the pitch.
The Stags took over, and the first goal arrived minutes later when Sam Griffin slipped the ball between two defenders for Jordan Ngalo to stroke home.
As the half entered added time, a clever pass from Sam Griffin took three players out of the game, allowing Gwengwe to hook the ball across Coulter for 2-1.
Lymington pulled one back seconds later when a cross from the left took a deflection off Waterfield that spun high into the air. With the keeper and his defence watching the ball, a determined Harry McGrath stooped to head in unchallenged.
After the break, the Stags looked to extend their lead, but superb keeping from new signing Callum Coulter kept them at bay.
Lymington had the odd moment of attack, including a free-kick delivery from Luke Churchill which forced Harry Medway and Jack Masterton into action.
The next goal did not arrive until the 70th minute when Jack Hoey nodded over two defenders after a poor clearance punch at a corner from Coulter.
Shortly after, another poor clearance from a corner, this time from Churchill, allowed Hashim Kasimu to steal the ball and feed Jack Hoey, whose low shot deflected off two Lymington men to beat a wrong-footed Coulter.
Straight from the kick-off, Coulter produced a remarkable double save to deny Kasimu before tipping Griffin's shot out for a corner. However, the resulting set-piece found the head of Griffin for the fifth goal.
Kasimu finished off a superb team move with a simple finish before another corner allowed Medway to head home the Stags' seventh goal.
AFC Totton: L. Noice, L. Waterfield, B. Jefford, A. Tomasso, H. Medway, C. Baughan, F. Read, J. Ngalo, H. Kasimu, S. Gwengwe, S. Griffin. Subs: J. Hoey, B. Williams, J. Masterton, A. Olumuyiwa.
Lymington: C. Coulter, R. Drake, L. Churchill, N. Hurst, J. Gorman, R. Fuller, S. Shearer, A. Biss, H. McGrath, F. Bullard, D. Thelen. Subs: R. Casey, O. Dennett, D. Walker, C. Davies, T. Man.