GOALKEEPER Matt Fredericks took centre stage on an incredible night for AFC Totton in the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday.
Having played out of his skin for two hours to hold AFC Bournemouth to a 1-1 draw at the Goldsands Stadium, Fredericks contributed to an amazing full house of penalty kicks as the super Stags won an epic shoot-out 11-10 to progress to the second round proper for the second season running.
“What a fantastic achievement for all 11 players to score from the spot. We could teach England a lesson in how to take them!” smiled proud AFC Totton chairman Paul Wallace.
“You could tell Bournemouth were the better footballing team and they must have had 25 to 30 efforts on goal, but our lads fought like tigers to keep them out.
“There must have been over 100 Totton fans there, including (first-team manager) Steve Riley and his players who trained at a gym in Bournemouth before coming along to support the lads.”
Cherries opened the scoring through highly-rated 15-year-old Sam Matthews, whose sublime 25-yard curler looked destined to pave the way for a convincing victory.
But Nathan Hurst’s adept 36th-minute finish brought Totton level and, with Fredericks outstanding, they kept out everything Cherries could throw at them.
That set the scene for an extraordinary sudden-death showdown that left Bournemouth goalkeeper Ed Tierney red-faced.
With all ten Cherries outfielders having scored from the spot, Tierney set himself up for a fall by playing up to the crowd – and promptly chipped the ball over the bar.
It sparked scenes of delight in the Totton camp with Wallace hailing it a “fantastic achievement.”
“Our keeper was the absolute man-of-the-match. Matt made some superb saves,” he said.
“Unlike the Bournemouth keeper, he didn’t take our last penalty. He stepped up to the plate and took the fifth one, which was very brave.”
Some of Totton’s heroes were members of last season’s history-making under-18 side who beat Exeter City in the first round proper before bowing out at Aldershot – the furthest the club had ever gone in the competition.
Several others started out as Pace under-eights with team boss Simon Randell, who is Pace Youth chairman and youth development officer at Totton.
“What a night!” beamed Randell. “The lads were magnificent as were the guys that work with me – Ollie Tull (assistant manager) and Luke Newman (coach) – and the tremendous support we received from those that made the trip from Totton.”
Totton now host Canvey Island who defeated Hoddeston Town 3-0 last night.