IF Dorchester Town were looking for clues about AFC Totton in Tuesday’s Southern League Challenge Cup match at Blackfield & Langley, they will have been sorely disappointed.

The Stags, who fly into the Magpies’ nest on Saturday in the FA Trophy second qualifying round, were a shadow of their usual selves in a comprehensive 4-0 defeat against the Watersiders.

With one eye on the Trophy and the other on youth development, manager Louis Langdown knew there was a risk that his much-changed squad, including teenagers Josh Cotton, Mitchell Byrne and Christos Papakonstantinou, would have their work cut out against a strong Blackfield team.

As it turned out, it was some of the senior players who had an off-night at Gang Warily and Langdown has no regrets about giving youth a chance.

He said: “I’ll continue to select and play 17-year-olds to give them experience in certain games – that’s how they learn.

“We knew Blackfield would play their strongest team because their club was desperate to beat out club. But we had a plan and we stuck with it regardless.

“We said we’d play Craig Feeney for 45 minutes and we did, Josh Cotton came in for Adam Siviter in goal, we left Justin Bennett at home, Rob Nicholls didn’t play and Connor York didn’t start.

“Stuart Green and Alex Haynes were out with knee injuries and Charlie Gunson’s out for a month with a broken finger he picked up at Gosport in the Trophy.”

Encouragingly for Totton, skipper and midfielder Jack Masterton got through 60-odd minutes on his comeback from a dislocated shoulder. It was his first start since the opening day of the season at Highworth Town.

The bad news was that former Salisbury winger Flavio Tavares’s eagerness to play cost him a hamstring injury.

“The idea was to save people, but Flavs wanted to play because he’s not done much this season and he wanted minutes,” Langdown explained. “Unfortunately he went down with a hamstring problem, which may rule him out on Saturday, I’m not entirely sure.

“We’ll go to Dorchester with fingers crossed that Tuesday is quickly forgotten. If we get a good result, it will make right what we did in terms of preparation. If we lose, Tuesday’s result will be compounded, but I’ll continue to give young players a chance.”

Dorchester play a tier above Totton in the Evo-Stik South Premier but, like Gosport – stunned 2-1 by the Stags in the previous round – they are not exactly pulling up trees.

Their dangerman is 19-year-old Exeter City loanee Ben Seymour who netted the opener against Yate Town in the Magpies’ 1-1 first qualifying round draw, before grabbing the first goal in their 2-0 replay win.

“It’ll be a test for us, but it’s one to look forward to,” said Langdown.

*In the Evo-Stik Division One South, Craig Davis leads Winchester City to his old club Fleet Town who are propping up the table.

Third-placed Blackfield & Langley, meanwhile, will be looking to turn the tide on two straight league defeats at Larkhall Athletic.