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Riley's happy return
TWO goals in three minutes late in the second half secured victory for Totton last night at a chilly Bashley Road and made sure of a winning return to his old stamping ground for Stags’ boss Steve Riley.
Ironically it was two players who made the journey with him from Bashley to Totton who were instrumental in fashioning what, in the end, was a comfortable three points.
Dave Allen and Richard Gillespie netted the late goals, both from pinpoint crosses from the excellent James Coutts, which brought the second 3-0 win in four days following the victory over St Albans on Saturday.
Riley was in buoyant mood after the game and singled out Coutts for special praise. “We were always a threat and James was superb and we were very patient up front.”
Coutts put Totton ahead six minutes before the break with a curling shot from 20 yards which had been coming with only home keeper Stuart Moore keeping out goalbound efforts from Allen and Michael Gosney, saving his best when somehow denying Jamie Whisken from point blank range.
“Bashley were the better side in the second half, in truth and if that header had gone in it could have changed the game,” Riley added, referring to a near miss from Rob Gradwell which shaved the bar.
By then Gillespie had hit the bar himself for Totton who became stronger as the half wore on and when Coutts found Allen at the far post with ten minutes left it was game over. Moments later he repeated the dose for Gillespie to guide in with a diving header and Totton were home and dry in front of Bashley’s highest crowd of the season – 282 – swelled by a superb travelling support.
“The two goals in the second half were well worked and we were clinical up front which was the difference,” said Riley. “Tonight was not about me and the other lads coming back to Bashley but was about the three points which we fully deserved on the night.”
“Our work rate was good, we were organised and what we had sorted out in training paid off as we limited them to half chances.”
Totton now hope to carry on the good run as they entertain Blue Square South Basingstoke Town in the FA Trophy on Saturday.