IT should been a day of double celebration for Louis Langdown.
Having had his role as AFC Totton boss confirmed for next season, he thoroughly deserved a champagne win to wash down the good news.
Instead, Langdown watched on with a mixture of satisfaction and bewilderment as his young side outclassed seventh-placed Mangotsfield United only to wind up on the end of a cruel 1-0 Southern One South & West defeat.
“Highway robbery” was how one of the Mangos club official described it and Langdown couldn’t disagree.
Apart from the fatal 63rd-minute moment when the Stags’ defence failed to deal with a cross and Liam Monelle took two touches to bury a scruffy goal from five yards, the Stags were in total command.
Young AFC Bournemouth goalkeeper Pat O'Flaherty held his hands up for the goal but, in truth, Totton manufactured enough chances to win three or four games.
Langdown knew it and so did an appreciative 262 Testwood Stadium crowd who, in spite of defeat, warmly applauded the players off the park.
“We’ve just battered a team going for the play-offs,” shrugged Langdown, perched somewhere in the middle of pride and frustration.
“I’m just thankful that you guys (the media) were here to see it.
“To be clapped off when you’ve just lost 1-0 rarely happens in football, but the crowd have all seen us outplay a team seventh in our league.
“This group of players have taken on so many challenges in the short time we’ve been here and you can see the change in mentality here.
“I don’t know how we’ve lost the game, but there’s no way the lads should be too disappointed. They’re energetic, they understand their roles and they've played good football all round.”
Totton’s impressive transformation under Langdown and player-assistant Adam Wilde has not been lost on the club hierarchy who have moved to quash any rumours about a change of management for next season.
Prior to yesterday, the Stags had picked up ten points from a possible 12 to banish all talk of relegation and chairman Wayne Mew has made it crystal clear that Langdown and Wilde have his full backing.
The Stags have turned to landlords Steve Brookwell and Pete Harding, directors of AFC Totton Leisure Limited, to help set up the limited company, but Mew said: “The day-to-day decisions will stay as they are and I just want to quell any rumours by stating that Louis will start next season as AFC Totton manager.
“Hopefully Steve and Pete can help us in terms of bringing in sponsorship etc., because they’ve got a lot of business acumen.
“But they’re quite happy to leave things as they are. Too many changes sometimes spoil things and, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Welcoming the news, Langdown reflected: “It’s not been easy. Within three weeks of Adam and I being here, the goalposts changed (when previous chairman Andy Straker stood down through ill health). But we’ve kept our counsel and carried on.
“We came here with a vision of wanting to enjoy football and we want a team that enjoys being in our company and each other’s.
“We know this club’s got the ability to rise if we can galvanise the community. AFC Totton needs to be vibrant, it needs to grow.”
AFC Totton: Pat O'Flaherty, Connor York, Ian Oliver, Alfy Whittingham (Liam Kimber, 79), Harry Medway, Dave Allen, Curtis Young, Charlie Gunson, Nathaniel Sherborne, Mark Gamble (Dylan Knight, 67), Matt Bozier. Subs (not used): Sam Roberts, Adam Wilde.
Referee: Marcus Carmichael.