ON a cold Friday evening an excellent team performance enabled Winchester City to come from behind to beat AFC Totton 3-1.

The result moved them up to fourth in the table two points below third placed AFC Totton having played one game more, although Sholing's win on Saturday has pushed them back to fifth.

It was a welcome return to home form for Winchester who had lost their two previous home matches after taking the lead, although their good away form has meant they have not slipped down the table as a result. However with AFC Totton the first of four home matches which also includes Plymouth Parkway, Frome and Sholing.

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AFC Totton are an ambitious well supported club who have a full time bar manager and were able to name Brett Williams who has 44 league appearances to his name on the bench. They recently announced the signing of Pascal Kpohomouh, a player who has represented England at under 16, under 17 and under 18 level where he has played alongside some players who have gone on to become full England internationals and Kpohomouh was also on the substitutes bench against Winchester.

The match was given an added spice by the fact that several players had represented both clubs and these included manager Craig Davis and players Rob Flooks, Craig Feeney and Patrick Nolan on the Winchester side with Feeney switching clubs earlier in the season.

Winchester were able to name the same 16 as they had done for the Lymington fixture with the only change being Craig Feeney starting in place of Oli Bailey whom he had replaced on Saturday. As befitting a local derby between two teams in the top six of the division the initial stages of the match were played at a fast and furious pace.

For Winchester, Rob Flooks had a header well saved by Lewis Noice, while Patrick Nolan hit the post. Hisham Kasimu who has been in prolific goalscoring for the visitors who had been averaging over three goals per league game and he demonstrated in the early stages that he was not afraid to shoot from distance with his powerfully struck effort from outside the area being well saved by Winchester goalkeeper Charlie Philpott at the expense of a corner.

AFC Totton took the lead in the 10th minute when an effort from Frederick Read hit the post and Adeoye Olumuyiwa followed up to score. However a minute later Winchester were level when captain Jamie Barron set up Warren Bentley to score. The game continues to be end to end, but although Jamie Barron shoots wide goalscoring opportunities were fewer than in the early stages of the game.

Winchester however take the lead in the 31st minute when a cross from Danny King is only cleared as far as King himself and was able to play the ball back into the area for Rob Flooks to score.

Ollie Balmer then saw Lewis Noice out of position, but was just off target with his ambitious lob. However shortly afterwards Balmer provided a good finish after being put through and beating the offside trip. Before half time Kieran Douglas who gave another commanding performance in the Winchester defence made an excellent block to deny Olumuyiwa to ensure Winchester went into the interval with a 3-1 lead.

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Ironically on their last meaningful home Friday night fixture Winchester also held a 3-1 lead only for Salisbury to rally and win 5-4 with Tom Whelan now with Eastleigh scoring a late winner.

One expected AFC Totton to put the pressure on in the second half to try and get back in the game, but Winchester were defending well as a unit and were also a danger in attack. Although Charlie Philpott was bought into action early in the second half Jamie Barron had one effort that was narrowly wide, while Rob Flooks hit the bar with a header.

Winchester brought on Ollie Griggs and Oli Bailey for Patrick Nolan and Ollie Balmer respectively, but AFC Totton began to apply more pressure and Philpott has to save from Jordan Ngalo. AFC Totton brought on Jordan Ragguette and Brett Williams and the two substitutes almost having an immediate impact with Ragguette shooting just wide with a curling shot and Williams forcing a save from Philpott, but thankfully for Winchester, Douglas was able to block Kasimu's effort.

The rest of the game was played out without alarm and Max Smith coming in for Warren Bentley. Jamie Barron again coming close and although Callum Baughan forces a further save from Philpott a good evening's work has now been completed in front of a healthy crowd of 409.

Winchester are away to Barnstaple on Saturday and at home to Plymouth parkway on the following Tuesday.

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Kimberley Barber