Match Report -

Match Report - , by Ian Craig

Fleet Spurs v Andover New Street

Fleet Spurs 2 Andover New Street 1 (Sydenhams Wessex League Division 1) by John Porter

This was an awful game, summed up by the fact that the scoring was made up of two own goals and a penalty.  In the end, Spurs were somewhat fortunate to win with Andover battling on to full time and beyond.

The first half started with both teams fighting for every ball and conceding a plethora of free-kicks mainly for petty fouls.  Neither side was able to retain possession for more than a couple of passes, partly because of the pressure they were under and partly because of carelessness.  Few chances were created, though both sides had narrow misses.  First Chris Rose rattled the crossbar, and then shortly afterwards Callum Sweeney had a free-kick from a long way out very well saved by Spurs man of the match Mark Appleby.  Then Street might have had a penalty when Victor Mudonhi tackled striker Luke Cairney in the box, but the referee judged that the defender had made contact with the ball before the man.  When a goal did come, it was from a most unlikely source as Mike Bertoux headed the ball powerfully into the top corner of the net from a left-wing corner leaving Appleby helpless.  Appleby had been Santa Claus at a party for players in the club’s junior teams and their friends and relations, but here it was Bertoux who showed his generosity.  The half ended with little more incident and Andover a goal to the good.

Fleet improved a little after the interval and found themselves in the lead after no more than eight minutes of the half.  First Bertoux found himself with only keeper Dave Tasker to beat after Spurs’ best move of the match but was brought down by a Street defender before he could demonstrate his finishing at the right end of the field.  Knowles scored easily from the spot, sending Tasker the wrong way.  A few minutes later, another slick Fleet move seemed to have broken down when Dan Bone received the ball fairly close in but at a very tight angle.  His half-hit shot did not appear to carry much danger, but Cairney unluckily deflected the ball past Tasker at the near post to give Spurs the lead.  Fleet were now on top and squandered a number of good chances, but with quarter of an hour to go, Andover came back into the game as they realised that the game was not irretrievable and went on the attack with great gusto.  Spurs kept them out, but were not able to relax until the very end of the match.  Even in the fourth minute of stoppage time Street might have scored but Appleby and his fellow defenders were able to kick two goal bound shots off the line after a desperate scramble a few yards out from goal.  A minute or so later Fleet could breathe a sigh of relief as the referee blew the final whistle.

Spurs have now risen one place to 14th in the league.  They don’t play again until after Christmas.  Their next game is at in-form Alton on Tuesday 27th (kick-off 3.00).

Spurs team: Mark Appleby; Sam Lynham; Adam Nash; Chris Barnes; Victor Mudonhi; Rob Colfer; Dan Bone; Michael Bertoux; Jamil Olweny (capt); Sam Knowles; Chris Rose (sub Adam Bond 67)