Merthyr Town v AFC Totton
11 November 2023
Merthyr Town FC, Penydarren Park, Merthyr Tydfil, CF47 8RF
As you would expect from two sides in 5th and 6th positions in the league table prior to the start of the game the first half was a relatively even fought encounter. This was the second meeting between the two sides in the space of just ten days so they knew how each other would be set up.
However, Totton Manager Jimmy Ball had added to his squad during the week signing former Tonbridge Angels attacking midfielder Joe Turner, who made an impressive debut in the game.
Remembrance Day was honoured prior to kick off, with the playing of the Last Post by Nicholas Brill followed by an impeccably observed two minutes of silence.
Initially the visitors struggled to contain the Martyrs ball retention, as Olly Mehew created the first clear cut chance with a low cross cut back from the byline to Frazer Thomas who could only fire his effort over the crossbar from just inside the penalty area.
On 35 minutes, Stanley found the clever movement of Joe Turner in a half space, as he was able to force the ball between Cogman and his left hand post to open the scoring. However, the lead lasted only a few minutes as Frazer Thomas drove the ball across the six-yard box for Lewis Powell to side foot home to level the scores.
The Martyrs were soon on the front foot as a move that started with Callum Ryan-Phillips whose diagonal ball found Thomas, gave Noah Smerdon the opportunity to fire in a low cross that Noice reacted well to claim at his near post.
Totton sensed an opportunity to press at every opportunity in the second half and on 68 minutes this paid dividends. Cogman’s pass found Jack Evans who was forced towards the left touchline with reducing options as the inevitable return pass to Cogman put him under severe pressure and he could only watch as his attempted half clearance found an unmarked Turner who had time and space to executing his accurate volley into the top-left corner from just outside the penalty area, giving Cogman no opportunity to regain his ground.
When Aneurin Livermore stretched out a desperate leg to foul Scott Rendell, he easily converted the resultant penalty in the dying minutes.