"It was pleasing for the crowd that we gave that team performance " says Town boss Benson

Andover Town 4 Team Solent 0.

“Everything about the day was very pleasing but we are aware that we need to keep our feet on the ground” was Andover Town boss Neil Benson’s view after Saturday’s 4-0 demolition of fellow title contenders Team Solent at the newly reopened Portway Stadium.

Goals from Michael Dixon, Cole Hinchcliffe, Bradley Benson from the penalty spot and substitute Tom Riddell capped a good day all round for the Andover College based side which has waited half a season to walk out in front of their own home crowd and gave them a stunning display.

It meant the side have scored 12 goals in their last two games after the defensive blips of earlier in the month and with a clean sheet against arguably the side which is on a par with Andover fitness wise, the 161 crowd went home with a smile on their face.

“Lloyd Foot, Lewis Benson and Jordan O’Donnell work with me every day and as senior members of the squad should take credit for that performance but all 16 squad members helped to put on what was a near perfect display as we stuck to our game plan” said Benson who added “we could have been three up at half-time but the 4-0 win is a statement as Team Solent are a very good side.”

The visitors settled quickly and Jesse Waller-Lassen showed well early on but Dixon showed he was going to have a significant impact on the match when he had a shot saved by Tom Taylor then Lewis Alderman’s hard graft gave Dixon the chance to turn and volley a stunning effort against the far post on 15 minutes.

Lewis Benson then had a shot saved by Taylor as he began to dominate proceedings and Claudio Herbert’s cross found Ollie Yates who had a header saved on the half hour – just one of several efforts the wide man had in what was possibly his best game to date for the club. Town continued to search for the first goal and Yates’ cross was punched to Alex Dockree who mishit his shot straight to Dixon who was wide.

Benson then had a penalty decision go against him and defender Oliver Goddard’s back pass rolled under Taylor’s foot for a corner which was not cleared before Yates blazed over from close range.

After the break with the temperature dropping it took less than 15 minutes for Town to take the lead as Dixon leapt with Taylor for a high ball just on the edge of the area and as both fell to the ground he hooked it into the net to bring the biggest cheer at the Portway for a number of years. The visitors were there for the taking and in the next attack Hinchcliffe’s header was kept out by Taylor but the defender reacted first to nod the rebound home to make it 2-0.

Andover sensed that the Southampton students were struggling and Yates twice tested Taylor before Lewis Benson chipped just wide to appreciative applause but they were not to be denied and with 15 minutes left they made the points safe.

Dixon was again creating mayhem in the box and when he went down under a flurry of bodies referee Barry Bottrill pointed to the spot and Brad Benson made it 3-0 with the minimum of fuss.

Dixon made way for Riddell with ten minutes left and within three minutes Yates’ sublime pass with the outside of his foot set the young striker free and he crashed home the fourth to seal a memorable Portway debut.

“It was pleasing for the crowd that we gave that team performance as most of our remaining games are here at the Portway and it was so good to hear the vocal support the home fans gave the side” added Benson who now looks to Saturday’s home game with Amesbury Town who he says they will give ‘total respect as they gave us a hard game at their place earlier.’ The match kicks off at 3pm and once again supporters are advised to check the Advertiser website for updates in the case of further bad weather.


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