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Chairman's praise for boss Steve
INTERIM chairman Andy Straker has praised the “brilliant job” being done by Steve Riley and his management team at AFC Totton.
Losing the core of senior players and building a new team on a vastly reduced budget is tough in any league, let alone the Calor Southern Premier Division.
But after losing their opening three games, the young Stags impressively found their feet with victories over Bashley at home and Chippenham away and came within seconds of banking another home point against Truro City on Tuesday only to suffer a last-gasp 3-2 defeat.
Tomorrow Totton open their Testwood Stadium doors to St Albans City and, as part of national Non-League Day, are reducing admission prices to £5 adults and £3 children.
“Steve, along with his assistant Chris Ferrett and goalkeeping coach Steve Hollick, is doing a brilliant job,” said Straker.
“When the new executive committee took over during the summer, we knew the manager’s job would be a tough one and Steve himself said it would be difficult, but he wanted to give it a go.
“There were problems finding players because of the Southern League embargo, but the players who’ve come in from our under-18s and from other clubs are all of a good standard.
“Some people out there thought we’d be the whipping boys but, with the hard work Steve has done, he’s proving them wrong.
“We could have won or certainly drawn our third game at Bedford and we showed good strength to beat Bashley.
“Then we got three points at Chippenham last Saturday, which is a place we’d never previously won at in the Southern Premier with a so-called ‘better’ team.”
Such was the effort expended at Chippenham that Straker felt Tuesday’s Truro game came a little too soon for Totton’s young braves – albeit that they had chances to win it.
But he insisted: “We shouldn’t fear anyone in this league.
“Steve’s got the team working together and, as time goes by, he’ll get it working even better.
“He’s doing a great job and long may it continue!”
“We’ve sold 150 season tickets this year, which is more than last year, and our last two home crowds have been great,” said Straker.
“If the boys keep playing like they are, people will keep on coming, not just because we’re starting to get results but because the lads are showing great heart and desire to play for AFC Totton, which is something Steve drills into them.
“If there are any Saints fans kicking their heels, come along to Testwood tomorrow. I can guarantee a warm welcome and I think they will be pleasantly surprised by the standard of football.”
Totton have welcomed centre-half Rob Flooks back to the club on a dual registration from Gosport Borough.
Following three years at Saints Academy, Flooks joined Stags’ under-18s and featured on the first-team bench.
After some strong performances for Fawley AFC at the start of the season, he signed for Eastleigh and moved to Gosport during the summer.
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