Downton 4 Andover Lions 4.

Andover Lions had a promising start to their pre season with a 4-4 draw at Downton who play two divisions above them in the Wessex League.

Ray Cozze took a familiar looking group across to Wiltshire with 11 of the 13 from last season’s squad with Robbie Owen returning after two seasons away and Daniel Smith who was making his debut.

Despite their lack of pre season training Lions were fast out of the traps and two early set piece goals from Dan Reynolds and Gary Lane, both from Jamie Pollard corners set them on their way.

On the half hour Josh Hind finished off a well made goal tapping home after a fine passing move to put Andover 3-0 up, a lead that they held until half-time.

In very hot conditions the home team made full use of the substitutes and were the fresher side in the second half. Before long they had battled their way back into contention with two goals but when Reynolds forced a defender to turn the ball into his own net the two goal cushion looked sufficient to see them win the game.

Downton, managed by former Andover keeper Colin Hopkins, to their credit never gave up and two goals in the last ten minutes levelled the scores leaving both managers with plenty of positives to take from the game.

After the match Cozze was concentrating on his team’s first half display when they ran away from their hosts.

“We were excellent in the first 45 and if we play like that it will serve us well in the coming months. Overall it was a very pleasing performance especially when you consider how little training we have done so far and that our opponents have been training regularly and have already beaten Alresford in a previous friendly.”

Tomorrow Lions are playing the Comrades Club from Eastleigh, who last season won the Southampton Senior Cup, at Wellow FC, kick off 10.30am.