AFC Totton 4v2 Weymouth (FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round) | 15th October 2011
15th October 2011
Hill (Lewis 61)
Oldring (Davies 30)
Charles (Osman 55)
Charles 44, Osman 57
Manley, Duff, Poole
Mr David Spain
Dixon (Beasley 46)
Malsom (Doyle 79)
Groves (Povall 6)
Testwood turmoil for Terras as four red-carded
By Adam Summers
WEYMOUTH’S dreams of making progress in the FA Cup this season quickly unravelled into a nightmare at the Testwood Stadium.
Not only did the Terras have three men sent off in the clash, with two being dismissed in the opening 12 minutes, but they were also on the wrong end of a couple of controversial decisions from referee David Spain and his two assistants, who unfortunately took centre stage for much of the afternoon.
Totton also had a man red-carded but there is no doubt they had more of the rub of the green with their opening goal coming from a highly debatable penalty and their third carrying a huge hint of offside.
Despite all the chaos though, the Terras can only be commended for the remarkable resilience they showed, particularly in the second half when they somehow cut the deficit down from three to one with just nine men before conceding a second spot-kick and losing another player late on.
Weymouth boss Brendon King made one change to his starting XI with Jamie Frampton coming in for the suspended Ben Gerring to complete a back four made up entirely of homegrown players.
Five other local lads in Chris Povall, Richard Marshallsay, Mitch Conning, Jamie Beasley and Ryan McKechnie also took seats on the bench along with Josh Doyle, a recent acquisition from Yeovil Town.
There were also some familiar faces in the Totton squad, which included three ex-Terras in Matt Oldring and Ryan Hill, who both started at the back, and substitute James Coutts.
A frenetic start to the third qualifying round tie saw Ollie Tribe make a fine last-ditch tackle to stop home forward Michael Charles in his tracks before Frampton fired over the bar at the other end from Sam Malsom’s fifth-minute corner.
The Terras were looking lively but just two minutes later a rush of blood saw their chances suffer a huge setback.
Hill’s long punt forward was the catalyst for the error which saw visiting keeper Tom Manley race off his line, misjudge the bounce and inexplicably handle the ball just a couple of yards outside the box with Charles bearing down on him.
It was a moment of madness and it left Spain with no other choice but to show the ex-Bridgwater Town stopper the red card.
The Terras were stunned and immediately replaced forward Matt Groves with 16-year-old rookie Povall, who was only included in the squad in the absence of cup-tied stopper Sean Lillington.
Eventually play resumed with Hill blasting over the resulting free-kick before another bout of drama just five minutes later saw two more men dismissed.
A loose ball on the right saw Craig Duff lunge into a full-blooded challenge with Michael Gosney and afterwards all havoc broke loose.
The Totton winger immediately pushed Duff, who went tumbling to the ground, and that started a melee with players from both sides squaring up to each other.
That brought Spain into the limelight again and after consultation with his assistant on that side of the pitch he flashed red cards at both Duff and Gosney to the astonishment of both sets of supporters.
Many thought a booking each and a strong dressing down to restore order might have sufficed but the Westfield official clearly did not think so. He also showed a yellow card to Poole for his part in the fracas. The game took some time to calm down after that but more controversy was not far away.
Byron Napper drove a shot wide for the Terras from 25 yards before Nathaniel Sherborne was sent sprawling under a challenge from Frampton on 31 minutes.
At first glance, it appeared the defender had got the ball and that the point of contact had been outside the box but Spain was not far away from the incident and judged it a foul allowing Sherborne to open the scoring from the spot.
The Totton striker then struck a post with a 20-yard drive as King sunk to his knees in disbelief in front of the visitors’ dugout, still clearly stunned by previous events. To rub even more salt into his wounds, he then saw his nine men concede a second just a minute before the break.
Nathan Campbell made it to the right byline and when he pulled the ball back across the box there was Charles to send a fine volley into the bottom-right corner of the net.
And it could have got even worse with substitute Jonathan Davies sending a close-range effort over the top, Tribe clearing a header from Charles off the line, Campbell striking the crossbar and Ryan Scott being denied by some ball juggling by the nervy Povall.
Beasley replaced Scott Dixon for Weymouth at the start of the second half and on 55 minutes they nearly got one back when Malsom saw an effort blocked by home keeper Grant Porter and then went on to blaze over the rebound.
That gave the visiting fans a glimmer of hope but just two minutes later that was quickly dashed again when substitute Mark Osman tucked home Totton’s third just seconds after replacing Charles.
The Terras were convinced the forward had raced into an offside position when the ball was initially played through and that sense of injustice soon spurred them on to netting two in two minutes.
Beasley grabbed the first on 71 minutes by rounding substitute Aidan Lewis and showing remarkable composure to beat Porter before Poole headed home the second at the far post from Malsom’s corner.
With Totton having completely switched off, the impossible now looked very much on as the Terras began to race forward in search of an equaliser.
It was compulsive viewing but after Lewis had got the merest of touches to divert Malsom’s cross away from Byerley and Beasley, the hosts hit back at the other end when Sherborne’s persistence led to him being tripped in the box by Poole with 12 minutes remaining.
It was a stonewall penalty but the fact Spain deemed it necessary to show the 19-year-old a second yellow card just sparked more derision amongst the visiting fans, particularly after the officials had completely missed an infringement on Byerley on halfway in the build up to the incident.
Poole had clearly made an attempt to nick the ball away from Sherborne but was just a split second too late. It certainly was not a cynical challenge but even with another defender coming around on the cover, the referee appeared to deem it a goalscoring opportunity.
The Totton forward tucked away the spot-kick and then struck another effort against the crossbar as this truly astonishing game eventually petered out to a close.