Round up

A bad start to the week, especially for those on the Island, as the only scheduled fixture on Boxing Day – Newport (IOW) v Cowes Sports – fell foul of a waterlogged pitch. AFC Portchester opted for Friday night football for the second week running but hopes of emulating last week’s high attendance were dashed by the weather and the game with Horndean was called off early in the day. The weather gods relented slightly on Saturday with only five matches postponed which was a far lower figure than expected and neither of the two teams at the top of the Premier Division were affected as both Andover Town and Blackfield and Langley added three more points to their totals. Andover defeated Alresford Town five two at the Portway in a game that featured four penalties, three for the home side, and all four were converted with Zach Glasspool and Mike Gosney claiming two goals apiece in front of 237 spectators – the highest attendance of the day. Blackfield travelled to Hamble Club and came away with a four goal victory with four different names on the score sheet. Lee Wort claimed the only hat trick of the day as Sholing regained third place with a six goal demolition of Petersfield Town and there was another high attendance at Lymington – 186 – for the local derby with Brockenhurst but on the day it was honours even as neither side could muster a goal. Portland United too attracted a good crowd – 163 – and ended their long sequence of drawn games but not in the manner they would have wished as visitors Bashley scored twice without reply to take the points. Shaftesbury defeated Amesbury Town by the odd goal in five with a late winner that was adjudged offside by the Assistant but not by the Referee and with the games at Baffins and Fareham being off the final game at Victoria Park between Bournemouth and Team Solent finished all square with a goal apiece.

The six games scheduled for Division One were reduced by fifty per cent with the matches at East Cowes Victoria, Fawley and Tadley being postponed and Andover New Street took advantage of the last named being inactive by returning to the top of the table after defeating Downton four one. Christchurch took their unbeaten run to thirteen and climbed back to second place with a three one win at New Milton. Another three figure crowd saw Luke Stone score twice for the visitors whilst Steve Flynn took his tally for the season for the home side to twenty. Goals at Ringwood as well with Brad Gale scoring twice for Verwood Town but to no avail overall as the home side eventually  came out on top by the odd goal in seven.

So as we move in to 2018 Andover rules the roost with the two senior Clubs in the Town topping the two Divisions. Andover Town have a six point advantage over Blackfield and Langley – who in turn are ten points clear of third place Sholing – whilst New Street hold a one point advantage over Christchurch with it being a lot tighter at the tip of Division One where seven points cover the top six Clubs.

Happy New Year to all.