Stags start season with narrow win in feisty Bishops Cleeve encounter

·1-min read
AFC Totton beat Bishops Cleeve (Picture: Craig Hobbs Photography)
AFC Totton beat Bishops Cleeve (Picture: Craig Hobbs Photography)

AFC Totton overcame stubborn newcomers Bishops Cleeve 2-1 in a feisty opening-day Southern League Division One South encounter, writes Doug Webber.

Goals from Jireh Oyebamiji and veteran Scott Rendell were enough to secure the win at a roasting Snows Stadium.

However, it was the away side who opened proceedings as prolific attacker Jack Watts slid the ball into an empty net after Lewis Noice’s low reaction save.

This sparked Totton into life as they applied pressure to last term’s Hellenic League champions.

Just 10 minutes after the opener, the lively Oyebamiji hurdled a challenge to slot into the bottom right corner.

He had a chance to put his side further ahead shortly after, but was unable to meet Jordan Ragguette’s vicious cross.

Cleeve made two enforced first-half changes - both due to injuries - which disrupted an impressive start from the newly-promoted side.

In the second period, Oyebamiji should have put the Stags ahead after pinball in the penalty area, with Shayne Anson’s last-ditch clearance hooking the ball off the line.

On the hour mark, Totton finally went ahead after exceptional team play allowed Ethan Taylor to curl a pinpoint cross onto the head of Scott Rendell.

The heat was too much for Mitres’ boss, Paul Collicutt, who was sent to the stands after remonstrating with the referee.

He was not alone as substitute Kia Newman’s reckless challenge on Jake Adams led to his dismissal.

Jimmy Ball’s men were able to withstand a late onslaught to see out the victory.

Attendance: 738.