Match Report -

Match Report - , by Roger Allen

Andover New Street v Portsmouth 19/09/18

Andover New Street 3 Portsmouth 1

BOTTOM of the Wessex League Premier Division, no points from five games, thirteen goals conceded in the last two games hosting a skilful, trained, fit, Youth/Academy side from a Club currently topping the Football League Division One. Result:-on paper, an almost stone cold away win: in reality a superb and in many ways priceless home win for the underdogs.

If there is such a thing as a form book for the Hampshire Senior Cup, Andover New Street overturned it last night at a damp – anyone from North of the Border would have called it “dreich” – Foxcotte Park in front of an attendance in excess of five hundred. And this after the worse possible start.

In the first ninety seconds of the game New Street could have scored and Portsmouth did, Street’s Zach Neve just failed to make contact with a Shane Lock cross in the six yard area, the ball was cleared and in what could have been a hammer blow the home side were a goal down. Alfie Stanley’s shot was beaten away by keeper George Baxter but STANLEY re-acted quicker than the defenders this time firing across Baxter to put his side in front.

The keeper then did well to hold on to a low cross and after Street had seen a header go wide some bizarre play from the visiting defence gave then a corner as the defender’s return pass to his keeper from a goal kick missed the intended target by yards. The defence survived that and further confusion between the goalkeeper and one of his colleagues before fashioning a chance at the other end. Baxter saved Stan Bridgeman’s low drive at the expense of a corner from which Joe Dandy, unmarked, hooked the ball over the bar from close range. Street were holding their own against opponents who were willing to go forward at every opportunity and were obviously looking to win the game, unlike a lot of such sides from professional Clubs whose sole ambition is to simply retain the ball.

Shane Lock was inches wide from a Zack Neve pass and an audacious volley from Zach Neve only lust cleared the bar but success came with just six minutes of the half remaining. Luke Neller won a corner. Neve’s back heel at the near post eluded goalkeeper and defence and LOCK slid the ball over the line just inside the far post. Not quite the last action of the half as a Neller free kick bought a first class save from goalkeeper Leon Pitman.

HT 1-1

At the start of the second half it was home keeper Baxter who was first in action saving well from Freddie Read – both keepers had good evenings – and as Portsmouth looked to get back on the front foot Baxter saved at point blank range from Dandy and a superb saving tackle by Gary Thorne for the home side denied Leon Maloney.

Portsmouth twice failed to clear the ball from corners and then gave the ball away badly and were grateful to see Pitman save from substitute Josh Wilson and a Neve header across goal pass the wrong side of the post.

Fifteen minutes in to the half came what proved to be the deciding goal as Shane LOCK cut in from the left and his low shot found the far corner of the net to put the Wessex League side in front but still with a long thirty minutes ahead of them. Baxter saved again from Bridgeman and Callum Sweeney’s pursuit of a long through ball was halted by a challenge just outside the area by keeper Pitman that earned him a deserved booking.

Despite their efforts Portsmouth were finding an equaliser beyond them, though Baxter had to save bravely at Josh Flint’s feet whilst at the other end Pitman rather fumbled a Neller free kick round the post. The thirty minutes since what was to be the deciding goal became thirty five minutes by the time the referee blew the final whistle to signify one of the best results and best nights in New Street’s history.

FT 2-1

Credit to both sides and especially to Portsmouth for the way they approached the game and for the spirit in which the game was played. Three cautions, all justified and accepted without response or recrimination, well refereed and free of the usual “verbals” from players and benches. Credit also to New Street off the field. They handled and coped with the evening superbly – the Rose Bowl could learn from the way they dealt with the car parking – and the Matchday Programme, as ever, was superb and is probably without peer locally at this level. (John Gorman)

Related Images: