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Victory sets up two derbies in cup and league
Andover Town 3 Cowes Sports 0.
Andover Town bounced back from last weekend’s defeat at Pewsey Vale when they eased past visiting Cowes Sports with plenty to spare at Winklebury yesterday.
It puts Town four points clear at the top in their debut season in the Wessex League Division One with Team Solent second and Pewsey third with games in hand and Stockbridge a further point behind in fourth.
Two goals from Michael Dixon and one from Tom Riddell put paid to Cowes who themselves have title aspirations having narrowly missed out back in May.
Manager Neil Benson made several changes with Dixon, Riddell, Ope Aromona and Jake Wellesley-David returning and they worked as his reaction to the game suggests: “I was delighted with that performance which I believe was the best football we have played so far.”
Benson also took time out to thank the Hampshire FA groundsman saying: “Our football was a tribute to the pitch which has had a lot of work on it and had a good surface which suits our passing game.
‘We relaxed and after last week I again asked them for a reaction as I did after the Team Solent game and got it as we dominated from start to finish.”
Dixon was released by Riddell and got past two defenders to open the scoring just before the break which was no more than they deserved as they could have been 4-0 up by then and in the second half Cowes were rarely in the Town half as Lewis Benson and Alex Dockree tied up the midfield in a very attack minded line up’ “Dockree was very impressive today and Ope was a handful on the left but there is no doubt that we miss Dixon when he is not in the side and he made a big difference today” said Benson.
Having set Dixon up for the first Riddell beat the offside trap for the second and Dixon wrapped it all up in the second half.
Benson, along with many others who have been in it from the start, is looking forward to getting into the revamped Portway Stadium some time in December saying: “The pitch still has one or two minor niggles but nothing to worry about and the interior is taking shape.
‘We are at the top of the league and that wouldn’t have happened without the great set of staff, the supporters and players and it a pleasure to be part of our club.”
‘Vice principal Stuart Barlow and Lawrence Blair, Sport learning manager were at the ground for hours yesterday and are involved with everything we do here and they make it tick.”
Benson’s next duty is on Tuesday when Town go to Longmeadow for their North Hants Senior Cup tie with Whitchurch United, possibly the first of two cup ties with the Jam Boys as they also visit them in the quarter-final of the Wessex League Cup should they get past Premier Division Newport IOW on Tuesday week.
Benson has fielded close to 30 players already and may well give one or two of the fringe squad members some game time on Tuesday, with Saturday’s derby with Andover New Street at Winklebury and the Newport game at the front of his mind.
Town’s U18 side went down to a disappointing home defeat to visiting Poole Town at Sparsholt yesterday morning. Having been 2-0 up in their SW Counties League Cup tie they lost 3-2.
Reports from both games plus pictures here later and in Friday’s Advertiser.