Verwood Town 0 Andover Town 1.
A single Toby McCauley goal ten minutes from half-time was enough to give injury hit Andover Town three points and 11th place in the Wessex League Premier Division at Verwood Town tonight.
It was no more than they deserved for an heroic stand against a side smarting from three heavy defeats and a local derby loss in the FA Cup on Saturday.
Town boss Neil Benson had all four centre backs out injured and was forced to reshuffle more than once as Michael Dixon, Craig Blakeman and Alex Dockree all limped off to add to the impressive casualty list at the Portway throughout what was a war of attrition without being at any point a dirty game.
That being said home goalkeeper Chris Lynch somehow avoided referee Bardsley’s back pocket despite a constant stream of sarcasm and dissent and should definitely cancel his anger management classes and reschedule elsewhere as he seemed to want to argue with anyone connected to Andover, on or off the pitch.
Young Charlie Gunson, Claudio Herbert and Oli Yates all tested Lynch early before a poor backpass let Dixon in but the big striker, who looked to be carrying a knock himself, just failed to take advantage. The home side looked dangerous up front with Town’s makeshift back line stretched to the limit at times, held together superbly by Dockree who had a fine game and Dan Munday brought a stunning save out of Jake Wellesley-Davies on the half hour. The game was frenetic and Town were worth their lead when Yates’ cross fell kindly to McCauley six yards out and he made no mistake.
Verwood came back straight away and Munday and Tom Whelan both went close before the break with Town glad to hear the whistle.
Within seconds of the restart the home side won a free-kick and Whelan should have done better when he got on the end of Charlie Gajic’s cross but the chance was wasted and the game became scrappy. On the hour Yates and Dixon were both down with knocks which seemed to annoy all and sundry connected with Verwood and although Yates continued Dixon conceded defeat and was replaced by Nic Turpin who at once tested Lynch. Blakeman then gave way to the impressive Danny Urry before Dockree’s bullet header went just wide with the huge midfielder collapsing in a heap clutching what seemed to be a damaged shoulder which brought yet more invective from the overworked gums of keeper Lynch.
It brought the return of Lewis Benson to the centre and Town at once looked stronger with yet another reshuffle although with referee Bardsley playing ten minutes added time to add to the drama there was still time for the home side to create panic more than once before the whistle brought a well earned and needed three points.
Having played just one game in 12 days Town embark on three in five as they entertain Newport IOW on Saturday before welcoming Horndean to the Portway on Monday, both with 3pm kick-offs.