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Truro defeat is tough to take, but young Stags make Riley proud
11:24pm Tuesday 29th October 2013 in Sport
STEVE Riley can see bright days ahead for his maturing AFC Totton side.
Despite losing 3-2 at Truro City tonight, the young Stags are growing with every game they play in the Calor Southern Premier Division.
After making the long trip to Cornwall, Totton fell behind inside two minutes when Liam Eddy fired Truro ahead from an acute angle.
But on-loan Portsmouth midfielder George Branford hit back with a 25-yard cracker into the top corner to take the Stags in level at half-time.
It got better still for Totton just after the hour when Luke Roberts back-heeled Branford’s corner for Saints winger Jamal Branker to put the visitors 2-1 up.
But with the Stags’ travelling party averaging just 21 years of age, inexperience crept into their game for Truro’s 73rd-minute breakaway leveller with Eddy again the scorer.
And there was little they could do two minutes later when the towering Paul Kendall netted a bullet header from a corner to seal victory for the Cornishmen.
Totton boss Riley said: “We did brilliantly to go 2-1 up, but we just lack that bit of know-how to get us across the finishing line and our enthusiasm got the better of us.
“We had a throw-in near the edge of their box which they intercepted and scored on the counter-attack for 2-2.
“It’s not a criticism because the lads did great, but we haven’t got that experience to wind the clock down.
“But even at 2-2 and 3-2 we created chances. Luke Roberts has beaten four men and forced their keeper to save twice and Taylor Edwards has clipped the post.
“I really feel for the boys. They’re down because we lost, but (assistant manager) Chris Ferrett and I will keep feeding them information to give them that bit of know-how.”
Coupled with Saturday’s 2-2 home draw with Arlesey, last night’s performance has infused Riley with plenty of hope for the future.
“People thought we might be the whipping boys in this league, but the last two performances have been top-drawer,” he said. “I know we’ve only got one point, but we’ve deserved more from both games.
“The enthusiasm and energy levels are good and I’ve nothing but praise for every single one of them.
“Young Matt Fredericks put in a solid performance in goal.”
Totton remain third to bottom, a point clear of St Neots who lost 3-0 to Corby.
Bashley are still rooted to the foot of the table with just two points following a 1-0 home defeat by Chesham.
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