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Monday, March 05, 2007

Defeat, a kick in the face for Wimborne

AFC Totton 2 Wimborne Town 1 aet

3rd March 2007

When you get to the quarter finals of a National competiton & have two grounds you haven't visited within reasonable distance, you know that it's not all going wrong. It was between Whitehawk & AFC Totton, I'd visited a Sussex league side earlier in the competition at Ringmer, so decided on Totton. Yet another heavy nights rain meant that I was concerned that the game would still be on, it must be about 12 weeks in a row this has happened and I've been mostly lucky to find games still on. The journey is remarkably easy, about 85 minutes from Waterloo on a train with loads of space. The only confusing thing is why they announce that you'll be fined if caught travelling on this train without a ticket, this announcement is made about 2 minutes after the train has pulled out from the station. The journey went without incident through some delightful countryside. Totton was a little larger than I'd expected and I eagerly hit the town in search of lunch. I was a little disappointed, loads of chinese takeaways and the odd Indian, but not the little cafe or chippy I was hoping for. I ended up in Asda looking for a supermarket cafe but could only find a MacDonalds in Asda, it took about 15 minutes to reach the front of the queue & with hindsight and local knowledge, I would have eated in the ground. The ground is only about a 10 minute walk from the station and very easy to find. The crowds were flocking up the street and I was hugely impressed when I got through the gate. Loads of programmes (Hillingdon & Causeway take note), two well staffed fast food outlets, a pick n' mix van for the kids, cheerleaders, a town crier and a wacking great marquee selling beer. Great to see a club making this effort and it certainly paid off, I kept hearing guys ringing their mates and telling them to come down. FA officials had also brought the Vase trophy to show off and I'm grateful to the official who took my picture with the trophy, very splendid and would look good on my mantlepiece. I've never seen a town crier at a game of football before but he gave it a brave shot as did the cheerleaders who were never going to be able to compete with the enthusiastic Wimborne fans. There's a small stand and another covered standing area set back from the other side. Surprisingly, the pitch was quite bumpy although it soon softened up when the inevitible downpour arrived. There was a great crowd of over 1300, this had a real cup tie feel. My favourite comment of the day came from a guy standing next to me with his son. Dad was receiving updates of premiership scores on his mobile. When he announced that Arsenal had scored twice, his son asked who had scored. " I don't know!" replied Dad, "Oh yes, there you are...Samsung & Cancel" Went way over his sons head but made me laugh.
This was a game of two halves. Totton never showed up ntil half time, Wimborne scoring first after 35 mins when a shot from just inside the box caught a wicked deflection and gave the keeper no chance. Once Totton started playing, they were much the better side and equalised on 54 mins. A cross was curled to the far post, usually with this type of ball ,the player coming in just can't reach it, this time he did and managed to steer it in from a tight angle. The game was considerably delayed due to two nasty Wimborne injuries. First a player was stretchered off with a leg injury and then the keeper was down for about 15 minutes after accidently being kicked John Terry like in the face. The keeper looked decidely dodgy after this and you wonder what effect that knock had on the final outcome, you cannot fault his bravery though. The winner came 8 minutes into extra time, a free kick was hit to the far post, an unmarked man headed for goal, the keeper could only palm it across the 6 yard box to Stevens who blasted into an empty net from only 2 yards out.
I'm delighted for Totton, the club made such an effort which was greatly appreciated, wimborne played their part and will look back and feel that luck was not on their side.

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