ANDOVER Town’s first match in the Wessex League Premier Division ended in a 2-1 defeat to Blackfield and Langley, a team who finished sixth in the league last season having won it the year before.

Despite the result, the visitors were far from outclassed as they gave a good account of themselves.

Andover seemed to start nervously and they paid the price when, after six minutes, a slip in defence was picked up by the home side who set up Jamie Musselwhite to beat the advancing Michael Weatherall to open the scoring.

This triggered Andover into action and Oliver Yates’ effort was hammered into touch by the home defence.

The visitors weathered the early attacks by Blackfield and a good chance fell to Alex Dockree whose shot just went over the bar. The game began to flow until Michael Dixon went goalwards and caught home keeper Gareth Barfoot, earning a yellow card.

Andover were finding their feet and on the half hour Ike Robertson shot over before Yates had an effort deflected for a corner from which Dockree tested Barfoot. Just before the break a fine Andover move involving Lewis Benson, Dixon, and Yates finished with Robertson scoring a neat equaliser into the far corner, out of Barfoot’s reach.

The last word of the half went to Andover when Benson’s fine through ball found Yates but the home defence held firm and just cleared the danger. Although Blackfield and Langley had most of the early exchanges, the visitors where having problems dealing with the lively Ekowe Elliott on the wing. However, they did show what they are capable of and an even score at half-time was probably a fair score.

With the wind in their favour in the second half, Andover didn’t have the best of the early exchanges and the home side went looking for an early score. They held firm and with ten minutes gone, manager Neil Benson introduced Danny Urry in place of Jordon O’Donnell but the home side broke out and the ever-dangerous Elliott found Danny Young, who had no trouble putting the ball past Weatherall.

Continued on page 55 From back page With 15 minutes left, Elliott again found space and his shot hit the upright before at the other end Urry found Dixon but Barfoot was just too quick off his line to clear.

Weatherall was called into action with a fine save to keep Andover’s hopes alive then a Benson effort went just wide but it was not to be as Blckfield collected the points Andover came away with some positives from this match and with three or four players still to be available they should hold their own in this league.

The match with Fawley has been reversed and will now be played on Friday, at Fawley.