Beers and tears as Stags are routed

Usually when a player is sent off they head straight for the changing rooms.

The last thing you’d expect a dismissed player to do is head into the stands to share a pint of beer, while watching his weakened side play out the remainder of the game.

But this is exactly what AFC Totton custodian Joe McCormack did after getting sent off and conceding a penalty in the Stags’ 6-0 defeat at St Neots Town in the Calor Southern Premier League on Saturday.

McCormack enjoyed the comforts of the Cambridgeshire side’s ground so much that he tweeted to them to say thank you for their welcoming attitude.

He said to St Neots Town’s twitter feed: “Thanks for your hospitality. Gutted to get my first ever red, very harsh I thought, thanks for softening the blow.”

Yet despite McCormack’s festive drink with the fans it was another forgettable day for Steve Riley’s AFC Totton side on the pitch against their fellow strugglers.

In a game which was pitched as a must win survival for both side, the Stags were well beaten.

Jake Wolley, Matt Nolan and Jay Davies blasted the Cambridgeshire side into an early lead before second-half goals from Nolan, Lewis Hilliard (penalty) and Shane Tolley made it a wasted trip for the visitors.

Riley admitted his side were outgunned. “It’s one of those games you want to forget,” he said.

“It was men against boys the whole match. We’ve conceded three quick goals and that was our downfall; I can’t knock their spirit and heart but St Neots are a strong side.

“The position St Neots are in is completely false, they are strong in every single position and I can’t see why they won’t continue to climb the table.

“We were missing a couple of senior players and that affected us, it never was going our way from the outset.

“The passing didn’t link up and we didn’t get the basics right unfortunately. The bubble has burst after the Chippenham win.”

The Testwood Stadium side were coming off the back of a 3-1 victory over the Bluebirds last weekend but with Ryan Hill and Chris Onoufriou pulling out at the last minute and Zac Mouland suspended, the trip to the Saints was never going to be an easy one for Riley’s men.

“It’s been inconsistency all round unfortunately, I can’t fault the work rate but with some of our key players absent we were always going to underperform and St Neots turned out to be no pushovers,” he said.

To rub salt into already sore wounds Totton’s keeper, McCormack, was given a straight red for bringing down a St Neots attacker in the box in the 73rd minute. Hilliard duly dispatched the spot kick.

“It was disappointing. I heard several people say he’s got a touch on the ball and it was running wide anyway, I wouldn’t have said it was a clear goal-scoring chance,” Riley said about the incident.

“I thought to send him off was harsh. Obviously we’re returning home very frustrated but they were a very good side and we must pick ourselves up and go again. There are several crucial matches coming up that we need to be ready for.

“In every department they were strong, they were pumped up for this match and gave a very powerful performance.”

Totton are next in action against rock-bottom Bashley in a crunch clash at the New Forest club on Boxing Day.


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