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Totton gearing up for another Cup run
Last season the Stags rose to national fame, making it all the way to the second round proper under former manager Stuart Ritchie.
Now, under the new reign of Steve Riley, they are on the march again after seeing off crisis club Truro City 3-2 in Cornwall.
The pre-match atmosphere around Treyew Road was one of impending doom with Truro recently forced into administration.
And with a £4,500 slice of the FA prize fund up for grabs, it was a must- win game for the cash-strapped Blue Square Bet South hosts.
But goals by Richard Gillespie, Dave Allen and Mike Gosney piled on the misery for the White Tigers who, as a wealthy Western League club, beat Totton in the 2007 FA Vase final at the new Wembley.
Totton missed a great opportunity to take the lead on 17 minutes when Allen was tripped inside the box by Truro skipper Jake Ash and Gosney fired the penalty wide.
Undeterred, Gosney set up the opener just before the half-hour, deliver¬ ing superbly from the left for Gillespie to clip home off the hand of keeper Tim Sandercombe – his 12th goal of the season. Truro almost levelled a minute later when Stewart Yetton’s looping vol¬ ley came back off the outside of the post but, crucially, it was the Stags who struck next.
Seconds after the break, Gillespie chipped a short pass in to Allen whose shot dipped over Sandercombe from 20 yards.
Truro pulled one back on 55 minutes when Yetton squeezed between two defenders to head home player-manager Lee Hodges’ free-kick and Totton survived a few scares as the Cornish side poured forward in search of an equaliser. But, against the run of play, the Stags punished a lapse in the home defence to give themselves some breathing space.
Hodges hesitated in dealing with Jamie Whisken’s high ball from the halfway line and Gillespie nipped behind him and crossed for Gosney to head into an empty net.
Truro reduced the arrears in stoppage time when Luke Whitley cleared Ash’s shot off the line and Ben Williams netted the rebound.
But the Stags, who have now gone six games unbeaten, held firm in the closing seconds.
“I’ve gone one better than I did last season (with Bashley ) already,” smiled Riley.
“We’re not going to get carried away, but it was a fantastic win.
“Our workrate was phenomenal again and that’s two FA Cup games run¬ ning when Gilly, Dave Allen and Gos have scored.
“It’s all about knowing how to win matches and the lads are learning. “They’re getting the best out of each other and we’ve got to keep drawing on that confidence."
Totton have been drawn at home in the third qualifying round to the winners of tonight's replay between Hungerford Town and Merthyr Town.
*Stuart Ritchie, the manager who led the Stags to the second round prop¬ er last season, has fallen at the first hurdle this year.
His Havant & Waterlooville side crashed out 1-0 a North Leigh, who play two divisions below the Hawks in the Southern One South & West.
A 65th-minute Kieran Sanders goal proved Havant’s undoing following good work by Jacob Walcott, cousin of Arsenal and England’s ex-Saint Theo.