Going into today’s game Totton & Eling had a very productive pre-season, with victories over Lyndhurst, Stockbridge and QK Southampton. Meanwhile, Midhurst had come into the game off the back of a victory over league rivals Whitchurch United.
With the opening exchanges of the game being fairly even, the first sight of goal fell to The Millers frontman Ash Shergold who picked up on a slack defensive pass and spotted the Midhurst keeper Josh Bird off his line. Shergold made the attempt at chipping the keeper but Bird was comfortable in making the save.
The hosts were enjoying the majority of possession early on and their first shot in anger came in the 13th minute, when Lewis Hyde caught a half volley very sweetly but it was always heading comfortably over the bar.
A few minutes later, The Millers were awarded a freekick around 30 yards from goal. Midfield maestro Joe Selby struck the ball towards the top, left hand corner, but Josh Bird made a fantastic diving save, at full stretch to his right hand side to get across and just tip the ball over the bar. It was a great effort from the freekick and a great save to match.
After the drinks break, Midhurst continued to dominate in possession but in essence it didn’t count for much as Totton’s defence were stern, with 2 or 3 fantastic blocks with people diving in the way of attempted shots from The Stags. But in the run up to half time, Totton were able to venture forward a bit more and Dan Clarke was unfortunate to hit the woodwork after skipping past a couple of blue shirts, cutting inside from the right and hitting a left footed shot across goal.
The Millers hard work finally paid off in the final minute of the half. Dan Clarke took aim and fired at goal, while Bird made the save, he couldn’t hold the ball and James MATTHEWS was on hand to tap the ball home into the unguarded net. HT 0-1
During the second half, Midhurst looked to respond and set about attacking Totton from the re-start and 5 minutes in, yet more good defending from The Millers backline namely Tyler Beech, making an inch perfect tackle to block what surely have been a certain goal.
Midhurst did draw level just a minute later though in odd fashion. Kieran CARTER took an inswinging corner from the right hand side and as Millers stopper Oli Eyres went up to punch the ball clear under heavy pressure, the ball ended up hitting the post and ending up in the net.
With the wind in their sails, The Stags were unlucky themselves not to take the lead just before the hour mark. Jake Slater curled a shot from range and was very unlucky to see it crash back off the bar. Naturally with a pre-season friendly, lots of changes were being made throughout the second half and there was a lull in meaningful action for 10 minutes or so.
However, the game came back to life in the final 10 minutes or so. Substitute Luke Shergold was played through on goal and as he approached the keeper, he opted for a dinked finish which Bird was alert to.
Totton were pressing forward and looking the more likely side to win with substitutes Wazza Ceesay and Luke Shergold causing all sorts of problems for Midhurst’s defence. With just 4 minutes left on the clock, The Millers hard work and patience paid off, when a great ball unlocked the defence and put L. SHERGOLD in on goal once more, this time he made no mistake as he nutmegged the oncoming Bird with a good finish. FT 1-2
Another good workout for The Millers in their final pre-season friendly. Lots of commitment, desire and work rate shown today with some flashes of real quality both offensively and defensively. The real stuff starts this coming (Tuesday 1st September) when we head to the Isle of Wight to take on Cowes Sports, in what will be our first FA Cup tie in 6 years.
Attendance – 40 (headcount)
Millers Lineup: Eyres, R. Fear, Beech, Gain, Lomax, L. Fear, Matthews, Selby (c), Clarke, A. Shergold, Burns.
Subs: L. Shergold, Higdon, Lachowicz, Ceesay, Coombs, Dawson.
Adi Rose at The Rotherfield.