NEW signing Craig Feeney ensured AFC Totton began the season on a winning note, striking first in a 2-0 victory at Clevedon Town.
After losing their brave fight to stay in the Southern Premier Division, the maturing, young Stags got off to a morale-boosting start in Division One South & West thanks to goals by ex-Totton & Eling and Blackfield striker Feeney and centre-back Rob Flooks.
Totton drew first blood on 53 minutes when Feeney outpaced his marker as he hared onto Liam Hibberd’s excellent through ball and side-footed past Kaine Mannings.
Five minutes later ex-Fawley man Flooks attacked Liam Gilbert’s inviting corner to powerfully head home number two.
“We were in control of the first half, but didn’t have the killer touch in the final third,” reflected assistant manager Chris Ferrett.
“But, in the end, Craig Feeney and Nathaniel Sherborne could have had a couple of goals each.
“Liam Gilbert and our new American signing Kyle O’Brien controlled the game in the middle of the park and it was an all-round pleasing performance.
“Compared to the opening day of last season, we had so many more options player-wise – and we’ve still got Zach Mouland to come back from holiday and the extra firepower of Joe Maxwell and Taylor Edwards.
“Fair play to the lads who stuck with it after last season. To keep going week in, week out sometimes for long stretches without winning a game wasn’t easy, so all credit to them. The experience they had last year has benefited each and every one of them.”
Mouland will be available for tomorrow’s trip to newly-promoted Hellenic champions Wantage Town. Relegated Bashley endured a tough start under the new management of Andy Darnton and Graham Speechley-Price, beaten 4-0 at Bridgwater Town.
Wimborne goalkeeper Jason Harvell kept ex-Saints striker Kayne McLaggon at bay in a 1-1 draw at Merthyr Town.
Magpies led through Matt Kemble before Ryan Newman curled a free-kick over the wall for Merthyr’s leveller.