ANDOVER TOWN 4 WHITCHURCH UNITED 1
By reporter Graham Cousins
For the third league match in succession Andover came good in the second half after an indifferent first half performance.
The Angel Call Handling sponsored team made two changes to the squad that started the weekend fixture at Laverstock. Dease Kerrison returned in goal and Callum Sweeney who has returned to the club from Bemerton was handed the number ten shirt.
In the second minute Sweeney almost celebrated his return with a goal but his effort, after a sixty yard dash by Adam Patterson, was six inches wide of the post. Soon after the two combined again but Sweeney’s header looped over the bar.
After these opening exchanges Whitchurch began creating their own chances including one Jamie Blackburn volley that hit the bar. Andover’s continued attempts to play out from the back were to say the least unsuccessful and Whitchurch almost made them pay the ultimate penalty. However, midway through the half the visitors made the breakthrough as Andover were slow to close down George Bishop who slotted the ball into the net.
Andover came near to equalising but Josh Bertie’s effort came back off the post and there were chances for Ben Emans and Josh Hewson but neither were clear cut.
Two goals in four minutes early in the second half finally put Andover into the driving seat. Harry Barkaway fired in Emans’ assist and then Hewson’s pace carried him beyond the covering defenders to set up a delighted Sweeney who scored from close range. Ten minutes later Hewson, enjoying his best game in an Andover shirt did all the hard work enabling Bertie to slot in Andover’s third goal.
An Emans’ cross was almost turned into an own goal as Andover continued to pen Whitchurch inside their own half and arguably their fate was sealed with twelve minutes left. Hewson was clear when he was pulled down by the goalkeeper Ash Downs just outside the area and the referee had no choice but to show Downs a straight red.
Two minutes from time Brendon Holmes completed a memorable evening, scoring the final goal. His shot appeared to be well covered by the replacement keeper Konrad Stymanck but the ball squirmed under is body into the net.
Before the start Alan Mussell presented on behalf of the Town faithful a trophy to celebrate his one hundredth appearance for the club.
After the final whistle the team made their own presentation to Brendon, a small illustration of the team’s respect for their captain.