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Totton still on learning curve
6:00am Monday 23rd September 2013 in Sport
AFC TOTTON held strong for nearly an hour at promotion-hunting Cambridge City on Saturday before succumbing to their fourth straight Calor Southern Premier defeat.
Although City showed their quality in the first half, Totton’s youthful side defended solidly and when ’keeper Joe McCormack was called into action he did well to keep Adam Marriott, Josh Dawkins and David Prada at bay.
But home pressure eventually told in the 56th minute when Marriott’s strike hit the bar and went in off the Stags’ on-loan Havant & Waterlooville defender Joe Noakes for an own goal.
Prada then doubled the lead on 75 minutes and Marriott capped City’s 3-0 victory five minutes from time to keep Cambridge in the promotion pack in fifth place.
“We did a good job in the first half and looked very solid and it was a bit unfortunate that we should fall behind to an own goal,” said Totton boss Steve Riley.
“But sometimes you just have to say ‘well done’ to the opposition.
“Cambridge are a very good, experienced side with energy and tempo going forward.
“They’ve got some experienced ex-pros and I said to them afterwards that they should be competing near the top this season – and I think they will.
“It’s a very tough place to go but, once again, I learned a lot about our lads today and it was another learning curve for them.”
Despite the result, Riley enjoyed the game thanks to the way it was handled by the officials.
“It was free-flowing and open and the referee and linesmen were all very good,” he said. “They let the game flow and it’s good see that level of consistency from the officials.”
Totton were without on-loan Swindon Town wideman Mark Francis, who will be sidelined for a couple of months with a knee injury picked up at Weymouth last Tuesday, and they finished the game with ten men after right-back Ryan Hill had to limp off with ankle trouble with all three substitutions already made.
The Stags tomorrow (Tuesday) host Wimborne Town in the Red Insure League Cup preliminary round and do not return to league action until Banbury visit on October 5.
“The rest has probably come at a good time for us,” admitted Riley, whose side are third-to-bottom.
“We’ve got a few lads carrying injuries and it gives us time to work on a few things.
“Saturday’s was a hard game, but we’ve come close on other occasions and should have got something from Truro and Weymouth.
We’ve got to take the positives out of those and go into the Banbury game with confidence.”
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