MATCH REPORT: EXMOUTH TOWN 1-3 AFC TOTTON

Exmouth Town were beaten 3-1 by AFC Totton at the Circle of Care Community Stadium, despite a spirited late fightback from Town.

A goal from Ethan Slater had Exmouth’s tails up towards the last 13 minutes, but goals from Charlie Kennedy, Luke Hallett and Ethan Taylor had already secured the hosts’ fate.

It was almost a perfect start for Town, as Ben Steer crossed the ball into Ace High, whose touch steered into the path of Jordan Harris, but the striker couldn’t quite get a hold of the ball and add to his expanding early goal tally. 

The game ended 10 vs 10, as Jordan Ragguette and Tom Gardner both picked up straight red cards, for almost identical offences.

It was a quiet in the opening exchanges, as Totton had a large share of the ball, but failed to create anything of note.

That was until the 18th minute, and from a corner, as the ball was crossed in and met by an onrushing Charlie Kennedy, who beat his marker and headed home. 

The visitors almost made it two, six minutes later, as Thomas Wright was played through on goal on the right hand side, but a sliding challenge from Tom Gardner prevented his shot from troubling Robbie Powell.

It was two after the half-hour mark, as a well-worked free kick caught Town sleeping at the back, and Charlie Davis slid the ball across to Luke Hallett, whose clever flick trickled into the back of the net. 

Town tried to respond soon after, as they broke with pace through Ben Steer, and his pass found Jordan Harris, but his shot was comfortable for Lewis Noice. 

It was Exmouth who had the last chance of the half, as Aarron Denny found the run of Harris, but his effort was held by the Totton goalkeeper. 

Totton started the second half stronger, and could have had a third, as a cross was intercepted but spilled by Powell, and a last-ditch block from Gardner prevented the away side from notching another goal. 

An opportunity arose for the hosts, as Ben Steer got on the end of a superb Denny pass, but the Exmouth winger was hauled down by Jordan Ragguette, who was dismissed and gave Town a numbers advantage. 

Unfortunately for Town, Totton continued to hold firm and the hosts lacked that bit of quality required to break down the side that are second in the Southern League Division One South.

The visitors got their third after 68 minutes, where Scott Rendell took advantage of Dave’s Rowe slip and drilled the ball across to Ethan Taylor, who finished from close range. 

It went from bad to worse for Exmouth just two minutes later, as the goalscorer Taylor burst through on goal, only to be brought down by Tom Gardner, who was dismissed to make the game ten vs ten.

Despite the setback, it was Exmouth who struck next, as Ethan Slater picked up the ball outside of the box and struck at goal, and after a deflection, the ball found it’s way past Noice and gave Town a slight hope of a comeback.

Totton could have secured their win after the 84th minute, as Taylor was once again played in on goal, and despite beating Powell, he could not quite beat the crossbar, which deflected his effort out. 

The crossbar was tested once again, as Ben Steer found some space outside the box, but his curling effort met the woodwork.

Exmouth will be back at the Circle of Care Community Stadium this Saturday, as they welcome Bristol Manor Farm (3pm KO). 

LINE-UP: Powell, Walford, Lever, Richards (Riddell, 72), Rowe, Gardner, Denny, Slater, High (Cullen, 78), Harris (Billingsley, 75), Steer. Subs not used: Casey. 

ATTENDANCE: 202

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