Pleasantly surprised. If you ask any AFC Totton fan, what they make of the team’s season so far, you’re likely to get a response similar to that.
AFC Totton will be looking to maintain their positive first half of the season after an impressive run of form heading into the festive period. The Southampton based side currently sit 7th in the Evo-Stik South Division 1 table and after their 2-1 win over Cirencester Town, they are only 9 points off top spot, a position which is currently occupied by Taunton Town.
The side boasts the league’s toughest defence, having only conceded 16 goals in just 17 games, which has certainly helped Totton fire themselves up the league table.
With games against 2nd placed Bristol Manor Farm, as well as local rivals Salisbury FC, it’s vital that Louis Langdown’s side gain points over Christmas, to give them a chance at promotion.
The Stags will be encouraged by their good start, as the side finished 19th in the league table after a disappointing run of results.
Totton striker Craig Feeney scored an astonishing 33 goals last season and has already been in good form this season, hitting 9 goals already. Feeney admitted that he would like to have scored more this season but is more impressed with the team’s results this year.
“I’d have preferred to have more but as long as we’re winning and I’m contributing towards that, that is all that matters! I’ve got very good players around me which helps me create a lot of chances”.
Feeney was also full of praise for the defensive record that his side currently has, which he described as one of the reasons why his side are where they are in the league table.
“I’d say our season has started really well, we’re in a position in the league that we were aiming for at the start of the season.
“We work hard for one another and our defensive record has been massively important to our good start”.
The defensive record speaks for itself, with such a small number of goals conceded this season, there is no doubt that Totton has earned their place towards the top of the table. Totton goalkeeper Shane Murphy has been the man at the centre of it all, keeping numerous teams at bay with some incredible saves. However, Murphy insisted that it was an overall team effort, not just his impressive defensive record.
“It’s certainly a positive to have the best defensive record in the league so far and we can all be proud of that not just from a defensive point of view but everyone over the pitch has done their bit from front to back.
The shot-stopper was confident of the defence playing in front of him every week and labelled the success being down to organisation and commitment.
“The current back four can rival any in our league in my opinion, and that includes the lads on the bench who can slot in and may feel a bit gutted not to be playing, but the current form of the lads starting has been great, it certainly helps me out! I think we can put it down to being organised and committed on and off the pitch”.
Murphy has been a regular in the AFC Totton side this season and is looking forward to seeing how the team progress this season, after such an
“The gaffer has been great, for me personally it is important that he believes in all of us, which is massive for confidence. We all know what is expected of us each game and how to achieve that. I think this could be a great year for Totton, it has the potential to be a great club and I’m excited about the future with this squad”.
AFC Totton boss Louis Langdown explained exactly what the difference has been in his side’s upturn in form compared to last season’s disappointing campaign.
“The squad is full of players with the ambition to play higher, some are untested at this level, others have played higher, but each have a point to prove. Last season we inherited a squad low on confidence and lacking in fitness with no real competition for places. This year we have players pushing others for the shirt, and that creates an honest rivalry.
In his first full season managing Totton, the progress made under Langdown’s guidance is clear to see, and he is hopeful of future success and wants to continue the clubs unbeaten run, a run which stretches back to October.
“The aim has always been to improve the outlook for the club. We no longer want to be viewed or talked about as ‘lowly’ AFC Totton, the team in recent seasons has had tough relegation battles, once we achieved survival last season the target was to be in the top half of the league.
“Targets adjust accordingly, and right now we are unbeaten since October 24th and have ourselves right in contention for the playoffs with games in hand, so the immediate goal is to continue the unbeaten run for as long as we can.
Langdown outlined his aims for the rest of the season after he revealed the club had already succeeded in meeting the first objective that was set for the players at the start of the 2017/2018 season.
“Beyond that, if we are still in contention after the festive period, and with a healthy squad, then we might push the bar and set a playoff place as our aim. We have met our first objective of steering clear of a basement battle, so it makes sense to set further objectives”.
AFC Totton travels to Bristol Manor Farm in what will prove to be their toughest game of the season so far this season. The league’s toughest defence will be sternly tested against the league’s highest scoring team so it’s going to be an evenly poised match.