Lions out of League Cup

Andover Advertiser: Action from Andover Lions' match with Colden Common on Saturday Action from Andover Lions' match with Colden Common on Saturday

Andover Lions 1

Colden Common 2.

Andover Lions crashed to a second cup defeat on Saturday when coming out second best to holders Colden Common in the Hampshire Premier League Cup quarter-final.

Hopes of a semi-final spot were dashed as they turned in one of their least inspiring performances of the season against the Senior Division front-runners.

However there was almost a dream start for Andover as Casson Spencer broke free down the right hand side and squared the ball to Vinnie Rusher but the veteran striker was soon crowded out and the chance for an early break through passed. Two minutes later Colden Common went close when Sam Baxter punched a cross clear only for Liam Magee to send the ball straight back towards goal, bringing an excellent save from the Lions’ keeper.

Lions were playing without their normal energy and fluency and Colden Common looked the better team in the opening exchanges with Magee leading the line with pace and intelligence which unsettled the home back four. On 15 minutes this was shown when Gary Lane and Baxter failed to deal with a cross and the unfortunate Lane hit the ball in to his own net off a post as he tried to hook the ball clear.

Five minutes later it almost became worse when Tom Adams failed to hit a back pass with sufficient strength and John Cole seized on to the loose ball. Adams made up ground to catch the forward but brought him down for a penalty and was fortunate only to get a yellow card. More fortune came Andover’s way as Cole got up only to place the spot-kick wide.

The miss inspired the Lions and they started to get back into the game.

Ryan Steele set up Dan Reynolds for a half chance that was blasted over but the lively Magee brought another fine save from Baxter at the opposite end.

On 34 minutes Reynolds once again got on the score sheet as a long ball out of defence was misjudged and the speedy Reynolds pounced to score.

Lions started the second half the stronger but although they had territorial advantage and possession they failed to trouble the keeper. Just past the hour they paid the penalty when a deep cross found Magee who had the easiest of tap-ins from a foot off the line.

The Lions continued to make little more than half chances and the discipline slipped from their game leaving last season cup winners to progress into the last four.

Manager Ray Cozze was disappointed to go out of the cup and even more so at the manner of the defeat.

“We were poor today; it was probably our most disappointing performance of the season. We were very flat, particularly in the first half and were lucky to still be in the game after half an hour but having got back in it I thought that we were going to go on and win it, especially after the way we started the second half.

Once we went behind we lacked ideas and lacked discipline and we never really looked like getting back into it.

‘We need to put that one behind us as it was the first time that we had lost a game in 90 minutes since September and we don’t become a poor team overnight.

We have a very important match coming up this week and so it’s up to all of us to get back to the level we were performing at for the last twomonths”.

That match is a vital league clah at home to leaders Bush Hill at Charlton, kick-off 2pm where the Lions will be looking to do the double over their Southampton rivals.

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