SHANE Murphy turned his back on Southern Premier football to join AFC Totton’s quest for success in the Evo-Stik South West – and he doesn’t regret it for one minute.
After three years with Dorchester Town, the former AFC Bournemouth scholar loves being part of the growing feel-good factor at The Total Branding Community Stadium.
For 45 minutes last Saturday, the 24-year-old Poole-based stopper became a virtual one-man dam, holding back a flood of Cirencester Town pressure before Totton eventually prevailed 2-1. It was their sixth consecutive league game unbeaten with only four goals conceded en route.
Murphy will be hoping for a quieter time of it on Saturday but, with a tricky trip to second-placed Bristol Manor Farm ahead of them, Totton will need to be back to their very best to pull off a result.
Discussing his decision to quit Dorchester for Totton in May, Murphy – who learned his trade under ex-Saint Neil Moss at Bournemouth – said: “I didn’t have the best relationship with the last Dorchester manager and when Totton spoke to me in pre-season I liked what Louis Langdown (manager), Adam Wilde (assistant) and Jamie Cotton (goalkeeper coach) had to say.
“They’re all keen to get Totton into the play-offs and go up and it interested me to be part of a side that are actually pushing for something.
“The lads here are great and it’s so nice to have a management team that really believe in you and play football the right way. It’s good to know they’ve got that belief in me and to feel wanted.
“Last week was the first time I’ve had to make a lot of saves, in the other games the boys have been brilliant.
“We’ve got the best defensive record in the league (16 conceded) and we can take a lot of confidence and pride from that. It’s something we want to keep up.”
Totton are eighth in the table, just five points behind promoted Western League champions Bristol Manor Farm with two games in hand.
Next Saturday (December 16) the Stags are hosting ‘Christmas Family Party Day’ for their home match against Bishops Cleeve.
Entry will be free for everyone and fans are invited to turn up in festive fancy dress.
There will be Christmas carols from Calmore Junior School choir, readings from club chaplain Simon Young and a host of family fun, including face painting, plus festive food cooked by ‘Roly-Poly Goalie’ Wayne Shaw.
“We just want to make everyone welcome,” said vice-chairman Dave Penny.
Totton are also running a Christmas Toy Appeal for local children in need. The players all took a gift along last week and anyone with a new toy or book to donate should hand it in at the stadium or at Hamwic Estate Agents in the town.
Source : DailyEcho