Match Report -

Match Report - , by Roger Allen

Andover Town v Badshot Lea 13/10/18

Andover Town 1 Badshot Lea 4

REPRIEVED from joining the competition until this stage because of past results Andover Town could find themselves back at square one in next Season’s FA Vase after this fairly comprehensive defeat. Visitors Badshot Lea are one level higher, playing in the Combined Counties Premier Division, and on the day deserved their win but both sides can surely play better and the game will not live in anyone’s memory for very long.

Town have a history this season of conceding early goals and almost did so in the opening twenty seconds when they gave the ball away and Lea striker Jack May, probably the game’s outstanding player, was allowed a free run in to the area and was only foiled by a smart save from Dave Tasker in the home goal. The visitors looked the sharper and Andover’s cause was not helped when Jordan Ragguette pulled up in pursuit of a through ball and limped off with less than ten minutes played. Solomon Mawo fastened on to another through ball with the defence caught square and was stopped by a challenge by keeper Jordan Clement on the edge of the area. Both players needed treatment with Clement only lasting a couple of minutes before he too limped off. Badshot had only named two substitutes but thankfully for them one, in Tom Chase, was a goalkeeper.

Home skipper Brendan Holmes had sixty seconds he could have done without when he conceded a free kick on the edge of the area, was struck painfully amidships by the ensuing clearance and then booked for his challenge to in effect add insult to injury. Twenty five minutes gone and Town nearly broke the deadlock as a low cross from Jaco Castillo-McPherson found Mawo at the far post but keeper Chase blocked the shot with his legs. The orange shirted visitors still looked the more dangerous and Josh Francis, finding himself in a similar position to Mawo at the other end, pulled his shot wastefully across the goal. Eight minutes before halftime the deadlock was broken and the following ten minutes in effect decided the game, Town were awarded a rather soft looking penalty which Shaquille GWENGWE drilled home but the advantage lasted only two minutes as a low cross from the right was missed by the entire Andover defence leaving Liam ROBERTS with a simple tap in at the far post.

Into the stoppage time added because of the two early injuries and Badshot scored again. Full back Josh Pound sent Francis away down the left, Tasker came for a ball he was never going to reach and a clever lob put the visitors in front. The keeper redeemed himself by tipping a goal bound header from May on to the bar and Roberts struck the outside of the post to end a furious five minutes and the half. HT 1-2

The history of early goals already mentioned came to the fore with a vengeance on the re-start as they gave the ball away under no pressure and the cross from the left was headed home by MAY. Three one and effectively game over. Mark Keogh almost pulled the shirt off an opponent’s back and was awarded a free kick for his efforts , May hit the side netting after the defence left a ball to each other and Tasker twice saved close range efforts. Two Andover corners in quick succession produced no reward before with some fifteen minutes remaining the game was finally put out of the home side’s reach. May went down under a challenge in the area, it again looked soft but the referee can only give what he sees and James PILGRIM made no mistake from the spot.

The usual raft of late substitutions ensued and there were close shaves at each end as Gwengwe beat the keeper and the far post after breaking clear and Roberts blazed over from close range at the other end after the best move of the match had left him clear. The last action rather fittingly saw Tasker save from May, probably the two outstanding players from what was in truth a poor game. Town now have a Russell Cotes Cup tie on Tuesday but more importantly their next two League matches are against Follands and New Milton, games thy need to win if they are going to make any impression on the League table. FT 1-4 (John Gorman)