Andover 1 – 3 SFC

Velocity Wessex League Premier Division – Saturday 2nd December 2023

Andover New Street 1 (Williams)

Shaftesbury 3 (Sweeney, Walker, Devlin)

The ‘Rockies’ remain four points clear going into next weekends top of the table clash at AFC Stoneham. This was a steady win at a very foggy Foxcotte Park over hosts Andover New Street in which Cameron Beard celebrated his 100th competitive appearance. 

Thankfully the fog abated a bit as by ten past three I and many others questioned whether this would finish at all as the fog thickened. 

Andover New Street started the game well with Lewis Williams creating openings and Nathaniel Bootye thumping a shot just wide of Shane Murphy’s post when really the hosts should have taken the lead. New Street talisman Shane Lock sprayed the ball about yet Sam Davidson and Steve Walker kept them at bay. 

Cameron Beard had our first effort on goal which former ‘Rockies’ keeper James Mayo collected comfortably. It was difficult conditions for both sides yet Foxcotte Park is quite a difficult place to go with a slight slope that is often better to play up rather than down if your centre halves have things covered. 

We took the lead when Brett Pitman turned provider heading the ball back into the path of Callum Sweeney hit thump his 8th goal of the campaign past  Mayo. The keeper made a good save from Jake Graziano shortly after blocking his shot at the near post. 

Mayo made two more saves tipping one away from Steve Devlin for a corner. Sweeney then linked in Brett Pitman who was denied to add to his 29 goals for the season by the keeper who was part of our FA Vase run last season. 

Louis Kellaway took one for the team to block New Street and received a yellow card for his troubles as the teams went in at half time. We had to work hard and at times do some defending with visability poor it was difficult for both sides. Though referee Mr Robertson gave the game a chance and the fog did spread out a bit. Credit to the officials there. 

The second half saw Walker head in a Devlin corner to put us 2-0 ahead. New Street replied with a well worked move and finish from Lewis Williams which was quickly eliminated when Devlin pressed and caused the home sides defence to turn and sweep it into the net past Mayo as he attempted to kick it away. Devlin being credited with the goal officially. 

Billy Maybury came on for Kellaway for his 97th appearance for the club. Aaron Roberts was busy and energetic, he had a good game and looked to be in good form. This was a good three points for us with the trip to the Complex looming. Let’s see what we can do. Fingers crossed 🤞. 

Team news at Foxcotte Park 

Managers Luke Burbidge and Jim Milligan brought in Sam Davidson into the starting line up after he signed from Bashley recently. Malachi Benjamin returned on the bench along with Billy Maybury. Skipper Ash Wells was rested after picking up an injury in the 8-0 win over Lymington Town on Tuesday. Steve Walker continues after his brace vs Lymington Town on Tuesday. 

What else went on 

With AFC Stoneham defeating Portland United narrowly 1-0, AFC Portchester losing 3-2 at Laverstock & Ford and Moneyfields 4-0 up at Blackfield & Langley before the game was abandoned it was a mixed bag today and we did our bit by earning three points against the ‘Swifts’ on an afternoon where visibility was poor we did our job. 

Top performance 

Player of the match – for me there are a few candidates though I was impressed by how young Jake Graziano has fitted in and learnt from the master (Brett Pitman), listening and giving the ball quickly. ‘Graz’ also set up a goal on Tuesday night vs Lymington Town. 

Line ups 

Andover New Street – Mayo, Davis, Hassell, Randall, Dempsey, Dallimore, Williams, Bootye, Lock, Thatcher, Gee

Subs used- Tulk, Waters, Blakendal. 

Shaftesbury – Murphy, Barnett, Walker, Devlin, Beard, Kellaway, Graziano, Pitman, Sweeney, Davidson, Roberts

Subs used – Maybury, Herbert, Benjamin

Officials – M.Robertson, A.Sly, G.Cash

Attendance -118

Photos/report – Avril Lancaster 🐌⚽

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