By Connor Steel
Goals from Ryan Pennery and Jordan Ngalo either side of a Matt Paterson equaliser saw the Stags seal victory and move into the quarter finals, while the hosts struggled to create any notable chances against a well organised team under their new manager.
But despite the result Shaun Gale will be pleased as he gave some youngsters a good run-out and they more than matched their opponents throughout.
Totton made a positive start to proceedings as Lewis Waterfield’s low cross found Brett Williams at the far post, the attacker’s effort blocked by a sliding Gosport defender on four minutes. But there was nothing the home defence could do when the Stags were awarded a penalty when winger Shaquille Gwengwe was fouled in the box, referee Alex James pointing to the spot. Up stepped Ryan Pennery to slot home into the bottom left corner despite the best efforts of Ellis Grant between the home sticks. Further chances saw Jordan Ngalo shoot wide and Williams’ effort fly over from 25 yards.
Enforced substitutions on both teams saw captain Mike Carter replaced by Jake Wright for Gosport and Totton’s Sam Griffin coming onto the pitch due to injuries in the 15th minute. Not that this changed the momentum of the visitors who saw chances from Freddie Read and Pennery at close range with dangerous attacks. Down the other end Gosport had some good possession but often lacked a final pass despite an effort by Harvey Rew drifting wide after the left back found space from an angle.
Gosport equalised in the 26th minute with good interplay finding Harry Kavanagh in space, the right back’s floating cross reaching Matt Paterson at the far post who made no mistake with his header back across the diving away keeper Lewis Noice into the corner. In response a move saw Totton go close as Waterfield found Griffin down the right side, but the latter’s effort was just wide under pressure before Harry Medway shot over from distance and Jordan Ragguette’s effort clearing the ‘bus’. The final chance for either side of an even first came when Elliott Wheeler’s driven shot flew wide on 43 minutes.
Totton started the second period in charge of possession and created their next chance five minutes into the half, Reads cutting inside and firing towards goal as Grant gathered the effort at the second attempt. Undeterred, Williams found space but shot harmlessly over and Griffin fired high into the left side netting. But the effective visitors weren’t rueing missed opportunities when they scored after 56 minutes. Dangerous attacker Ngalo found space to curl an effort into the top corner 25 yards out, a slight deflection wrongfooting Grant who was left rooted to the spot as the ball beat the goalie.
Substitutions either side of the hour mark meant a slight lull in momentum, Paul Agbeseyi joining the field to replace Matt Paterson in a tactical change. But a change in formation didn’t seem to help Gosport who dominated possession but struggled to break down an organised defence, with Totton looking good on the counter attack as heavy rain lashed the pitch. Both Pennery and Adam Tomasso shot wide of goal, whilst Fin Walsh-Smith headed a corner straight at a defender’s leg having replaced the injured Matt Briggs after a tackle. Rew then had a cross evade everyone on 75 minutes.
With 12 minutes left to play, Totton were furious at the officials, Williams running down the left wing and appearing to be fouled by Walsh-Smith only to have their appeals turned down. Pushed forward by their frustration, the visitors again went close through Pennery and won a series of corners, which allowed hosts Gosport to create two late chances. On 85 minutes, Bradley Lethbridge found space and spun round his marker but drilled over the crossbar before the striker went even closer moments later, a cross by Kavanagh finding his feet and a toe-poke was saved by the legs of Noice in the final opportunity.
Buoyed by this victory over higher league opposition Totton will turn back to Southern League South Division One action with two home classes versus Paulton Rovers and Frome Town in the next seven days. Gosport also return to league action with a home game against Dorchester at Privett Park on Saturday afternoon before travelling to Hendon next Tuesday for their rearranged November fixture. Their final game before Christmas will see another away trip to play strugglers Wimborne after beating them 2-0 at Privett Park last week, this fixture scheduled for December 18.
PICTURED BY COLIN FARMERY: Totton shut down another Gosport attack to beat Shaun Gale’s men