Hartley Wintney travelled to Squirrel Lane in the hope of picking up some nuts in the form of three points to start their Hampshire Invitation Cup group schedule off.

A two minute silence was observed before the match - against Cove - to respect the funeral of Prince Philip – the Duke of Edinburgh.

The fixture was played behind closed doors.

Cove, from the Combined Counties League, are several divisions below Hartley and for the most part it showed with the Row running out comfortable winners.

The first half saw Hartley with long periods of possession but struggling to fashion a clear cut chance.

However on 15 minutes Tom Bird managed to feed James Beauchamp who saw his effort smothered by the outrushing former popular Row keeper Craig Atkinson. On 28 minutes Dom Griffiths set up Ben Wright who fired wide.

Cove responded and their first chance arrived on 32 minutes.

Utod Sewell made good progress down the right and his cross was narrowly missed by the onrushing Finlay Hall.

The well organised home defence held on although they had a scare on 39 minutes.

A long range daisy cutter shot from Ben Wright brought out a good save from Atkinson helped by the outside of the post. The resulting corner was not fully cleared and the ball remained in the Cove area.

Ben Wright (left) and Josh Webb (right)

Ben Wright (left) and Josh Webb (right)

Matt. Drage managed to get in a right wing cross and Dean Stow managed to force the ball home from close range to make it 1-0.

Two minutes later a good run and cross from the right by Toby Raggett gave Stow a headed chance but his effort went wide.

After the break the Row put the game out of reach with three goals in the first five minutes.

First Toby Raggett took advantage of a defensive slip and stroked the ball home from 15 yards. (0-2)

Two minutes later Raggett was hauled down in the penalty area and Ben Wright converted the resulting penalty to make it 3-0.

Sam Argent then controlled a pass from Ben Wright and scored with a fine low shot from the edge of the penalty box. Cove never

gave up and reduced the arrears on 57 minutes when Dave Parry converted a penalty kick. 4-1.

Seven minutes later Dom Griffiths had an effort following a left wing move which brought out a good save from Atkinson.

On 68 minutes the Row completed the scoring when Wade Muttitt’s powerful shot was parried by Atkinson only for Kingsley Eshun to head into the unguarded net.

The remainder of the match seemed to be personal dual between Sam Argent and Craig Atkinson in the Cove goal. On this occasion the former Row stopper came out on top.

Hartley were awarded a penalty on 79 minutes when Argent was pulled down inside the area.

The Row striker took the kick himself but Atkinson brought off a smart save.

A feature of the match was that Hartley used no fewer than six of their Academy players who have featured in their Under 23 Development team. All gave very impressive performances.

Several of the players are from the USA for a season to gain experience.