, , , , , , ,

Tuesday 4th October 2016 ko 19.45

Southern League Cup 1st Round

AFC TOTTON 2 (Watts 64 Gosney 85)

WINCHESTER CITY 3 (Jenkinson 33 57 Wilson 89p)

Att 157

Entry £6

Programme £2

I think there’s a missing entry in the great groundhopping lexicon. There needs to be word or term for a ground you haven’t visited despite being it easy to get to, and you’ve visited plenty further away beforehand. For me, AFC Totton would be an extreme example, it’s easy enough to get to from Oxford, it’s been open since 2010 and to make things worse I actually managed to visit the adjacent Little Testwood Stadium, home to Totton & Eling four-and-half years ago!!

I’d had no such problems with AFC Totton’s previous home Testwood Park. I visited in October 2007 for a Wessex League Premier game vs Alresford.

Back then I caught the club very much on the rise. They’d just made it to Wembley, losing the FA Vase final to Truro City but were destined to win that season’s Wessex League and with it promotion to the Southern League.

The club’s first season at the new Testwood Stadium saw them promoted to the Premier Division and arguably the club reached a zenith when reaching the FA Cup 2nd Round losing 6-1 at home to Bristol Rovers.

Since then the club has had a tougher time of it, with financial troubles seeing them relegated back to the South & West Division, and my visit caught them managerless and struggling at the wrong end of the league. It was odd visiting a clubhouse I’d visited before (Totton & Eling have use of it) but a ground I hadn’t!

I’d heard that the sightlines aren’t good here, but the fact that I managed to get a good view was probably due to the low attendance, cup malaise isn’t just a Premier League and Football phenomenon it seems. It was good to see the main stand from the old ground still loved, and in service on the “Pop” side.

The game was settled by the boot of Andrew Jenkinson, his free-kick was the moment of a game characterised by both side lack of confidence, and the rash of managerial candidates liberally sprinkled about the ground. The late penalty saw off no more than further penalties, the competition has realised that noone likes extra time.