Winchester 2 AFC Totton 1
Winchester won a keenly contested local derby with AFC Totton 2-1 and it moves them back into 5th place, two points ahead of Cinderford whom we they play on the final day of the season. However the result virtually ends the playoff chances of both AFC Totton and Melksham, the latter whom Winchester visit on Good Friday. For me it was the first time I had seen Winchester beat AFC Totton having witnessed the last two corresponding matches which have produced one AFC Totton victory and one draw.
The match was given an added spice by the fact that many of the players had represented both clubs, but one of these Winchester's Liam Gilbert was on a course and could not play. Rob Carr also had work issues which meant that he could only be named as a substitute and Tyrell Mitford and I K Hill coming into the starting line-up for these two players were the only two changes from Saturday's game at Yate. Amongst the Winchester substitutes was youngster Jack Francis as a crowd of 236 saw the game which included a few neutrals and some Eastleigh personnel who were unable to make their trip to Leyton Orient.
Early on I K Hill forced a save from the away goalkeeper while blocks were made at both ends in a competitive start to the match. Another good run from I K Hill led to a corner which resulted in former AFC Totton player Rob Flooks getting on the end of Jamie Barron's flag kick to open the scoring in the 4th minute. Winchester were boosted by that goal and I K Hill forced a save from Shane Murphy they had a couple of near misses with the pace of Oli Bailey up frobt always a threat to the visitors defence, although AFC Totton came into the game with Ryan Pryce saving from Stuart Green, Craig Feeney and Alex Haynes.
Winchester though again regained the ascendancy with I K Hill forcing another save from Shane Murphy and Tyrell Mitford also coming close. The visitors however finished the half strongly with only a last ditch clearance keeping them out and shortly before half time an effort from Feeney was deflected into the path of Justin Bennett and the prolific marksman made no mistake.
The early part of the second half saw few chances although Simba Mlambo came close for Winchester and Callum Chugg made an important block. Early in the game's second period Rob Carr came on for Tyrell Mitford. However an important moment in the game occurred when AFC Totton's Jack Smith received a straight red card for a challenge on Oli Balley. Having known Jack as a youngster at Eastleigh when he was an articulate co-commentator with Ian Wilding on Radio Solent it did seem a bit out of character, but the offence e was adjudged to be the use of an elbow.
After that AFC Totton had to readjust and were as a result less of an attacking threat, although they were keeping Winchester at bay. However a penalty was awarded for a foul by Dave Allen on Oli Bailey and although Murphy saved Jamie Barron's initial effort the Winchester captain followed up to score.
After this goal Winchester did not look like relinquishing this lead and Ron Carr had an effort saved and fellow substitute Jake Rawkins who had come on for I K Hill shot over following a good run from Simba Mlambo, but importantly the score remained unchanged and for the first time as manager of Winchester Craig Davis recorded a win against his former club