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Late goal denies New Street
Andover New Street 2 Stockbridge 2.
It is rare when opposing managers agree on anything as important as a sending off but in Saturday’s case New Street boss Phil Andrews and Stockbridge’s Stuart Thomson both agreed that the dismissal of Jamie Coleman changed the outcome of the game.
The former New Street man saw red from referee Michael Fogt when his tackle early in the second half was deemed bad enough for an early bath, which woke up the remaining ten men who then took control and eventually came away with a point.
“I can see why the referee sent him off, as he slid along and the studs were up” admitted Thomson, “but from then on we were the better team.”
Andrews’ take on the game echoed that of Thomson as he said: “When Jamie was sent off it changed the game for us as the spare man meant for some reason we became complacent and once again gave away a late goal through not marking up.”
New Street had fitted in the controversial draw at Hythe and Dibden seven days earlier but the Robins had been hibernating for almost a month and were slow in settling into the game. They had plenty of possession but the finishing left much to be desired while New Street’s burly Prince Xamela is proving to be a handful now he has been given an extended run in the side. “Most teams are finding that they can’t handle Prince”, said Andrews “and he outbattled them on Saturday.” The South African slotted home the opener midway through the first half but Stockbridge levelled five minutes from the break when the home defence went awol and Jack Hutchings headed a Lewis Alderman cross past Dave Tasker. Just on half-time Street went back in front when Craig Blakeman’s slide rule pass put former Robin Olly Yates through and he netted a fine goal to set up the second half.
With Coleman off Stockbridge upped their game and just past the hour Mike Baker shot inches wide then Tasker did well to keep out Hutchings as Stockbridge sensed a way back into the game. Xamela again went close at the other end in what was a typical derby encounter which had another late sting in its tail. Less than ten minutes from the whistle Dave Cotter broke through for Stockbridge but was brought down by Kevin Doughty and referee Hogt levelled the numbers up.
Deep into stoppage time the Robins struck when another Alderman corner was not cleared and Danny Field gleefully snapped up the goal and the point.
“It shows how we have progressed as Stockbridge hammered us at their place but we should have won and I am gutted to be honest” said Andrews. He paid tribute to Xamela who has stepped up from Andover League football calling him a ‘revelation’ and, despite wins being hard to come by is ‘enjoying it’.
New Street were without the unavailable Shane Lock on Saturday and finished with Matt Styles, Nic Oliver and Olly Yates all struggling with injuries for the tricky trip to in form Whitchurch last Tuesday.
Thomson saw the result as a fair one adding: “We gave away two bad goals but battled on and we should improve again once we start playing regularly.