Thatcham Town 3 - 0 AFC Totton
By Andy Morris
Thatcham got 2019 off to a fine start by defeating AFC Totton 3-0 at Waterside Park.
Shane Cooper-Clark scored a goal in each half, while in between Josh Helmore claimed the first of his new spell with the club.
Chances were at a premium in the first half, with both teams quick to fire long balls into the channels. Harris in the Stags’ net had to tip a Cooper-Clark free-kick over the bar, while Totton swung in a high free kick from the right which bounced off the crossbar and over.
The breakthrough came on 39 minutes when George Jeacock, with his back to goal, controlled a high pass down the right channel. He used his pace to take on the Totton defence and drew a foul as he approached the touch-line. Cooper-Clark hit a firm penalty kick to the bottom left corner, with Harris diving the right way but unable to reach it.
Totton had a good spell at the start of the second half, with an effort from the edge of the box going just over, then following a defensive mix-up Town had to clear a shot off the goal-line. But at the other end Cooper-Clark twice went close, blasting dipping shots over the bar from inside the box.
Thatcham began to take control, forcing free-kicks and corners, and eventually the second goal arrived on 71 minutes. Down the left flank Jeacock laid the ball off for Helmore who cut inside and whipped a low shot past Harris.
Ten minutes later Jeacock claimed a hat-trick of assists when he put Cooper-Clark through on goal, and he poked the ball over the oncoming keeper.
As the second half wore on, Thatcham’s were relatively untroubled and the defence went on to claim a second successive clean sheet at Waterside Park. The club’s unbeaten run has been extended to five games, the Kingfishers have now overtaken Totton and risen to tenth in the table, seven points off the play-offs.
Team - Rackley; Stanley Angell Jenner Miller; Alexander Rees Kelly Helmore; Jeacock Cooper-Clark. Subs on: Carrington Tennant Lynch. Subs unused: Cattell Farah