Steve Riley hailed in-form striker Richard Gillespie after seeing his AFC Totton side win a five-goal-thriller against Merthyr Town.

The forward came up with a goal – his 13th of the season – and an assist for Dave Allen in his team’s 3-2 win over their lower division Welsh visitors to advance to the FA Cup fourth qualifying round. The Stags, aiming to repeat last season’s superb run to the second round proper, stormed into a 3-0 half-time lead.

And despite two late consolations, Totton held on for their sixth successive league and cup win – against a Merthyr team who had not lost any of their first 13 games of 2012/13.

Gillespie was originally awarded Totton’s 18th minute opener, but that was later given to Jonathan Davies, whose corner went straight in at the near post. Praising Gillespie, Riley said: “He’s a thorn in the side of any defender at the minute.

“He’s lively, he’s strong, and the centre halves knew they were in a game.

“He’s great for the team, he’s hit a bit of form and long may that continue. “We’ve just got to keep supplying him with the ammunition.”

See today's Daily Echo