ANDOVER Town's Wessex League campaign got off to the perfect start on Tuesday night as they thrashed Bemerton Heath Harlequins 6-1.

Debut goals for new signings Mike Gosney and Jason Silver and a well-taken brace from returning striker Zach Glasspool capped off an excellent display, in front of a 150 strong Portway crowd.

Goals from Luke Dempsey and Reece Rusher also ensured Andover begin the season joint top of the Premier Division with Portland United, who also won 6-1 on the night.

Manager Glenn Burnett named a familiar looking side for Town's league opener, with the likes of Shane Lock, Alex Dockree and goalkeeper Lloyd Thomas all in the starting line-up.

New signing Gosney was awarded a place in the first eleven, while Silver, who recently joined from Winchester, started from the bench.

Despite the eventual scoreline, Andover endured a torrid opening 15 minutes, in which the visitors created two clear-cut chances.

The first came after five minutes when a poor backpass from Joe Wright put Bemerton's Russell Jones one-on-one with Thomas.

The forward cleverly rounded the Town stopper, but fired his effort into the side netting with the open goal gaping.

Ten minutes later, Jones was in the thick of it again.

Bemerton's Jacob Rawkins cleverly jinked his man inside the box before squaring to Jones, whose effort from just outside the six-yard area was miraculously blocked by the arm of a diving Thomas.

Andover regrouped and began to grow into the game.

A penalty appeal for an apparent shove on Glasspool was turned down, before Dockree went close with a drilled effort from just outside the area.

Andover then took the lead on the half-hour mark with a stunning goal from Glasspool.

Gosney, from the right, beat his man superbly before delivering a defence splitting cross to the back post, which Glasspool volleyed home from close range.

Bemerton drew level 10 minutes later.

Jones, who looked Bemerton's most dangerous threat in the first half, was slipped through down the right and too easily shrugged off his man before slipping the ball under a charging Thomas to equalise for the visitors.

Just a minute later Thomas was forced into another great save, this time from a brilliant turn and volley from Jones.

However it was Andover who took a 2-1 lead on the stroke of half-time through Rusher's volleyed effort.

A floated free-kick from the half-way line was knocked down and Rusher powered the ball low and hard into the bottom right, despite the best efforts of Bemerton's goalkeeper.

Town took a 3-1 lead five minutes after the restart.

Cutting in from the right, Gosney's low curling effort produced a fine save from Lewis Watch.

However the goalkeeper could only palm the ball into the path of Glasspool, who calmly rolled the ball into an empty net for his second of the match.

Gosney was finally awarded a goal of his own ten minutes later.

The winger superbly chested down a long ball before turning his defender and volleying into the bottom right to give his side a 4-1 lead.

Having scored a well-deserved goal, Gosney was replaced by fellow debutant Silver on the hour mark.

Andover continued to dominate proceedings in the second half as the visitors became increasingly frustrated.

Their anger boiled over on 67 minutes when Luke Dempsey's contentious goal was allowed to stand despite an apparent foul on Watch.

The goalkeeper appeared to be knocked by a Town forward as he went up for a contested catch.

The spilled effort was squared to Dempsey, who calmly slotted into an empty net.

The incensed visitors surrounded the referee in protest, but the official allowed the goal and later booked two Bemerton players for dissent.

Both sides made substitutes with Bemerton introducing Charlie Young and Andover replacing Dockree with McCaulie Stubbs.

Just minutes after his introduction, Stubbs was involved in Town's final goal - a stunning strike by Silver.

A long ball was chested down to the feet of Stubbs who knocked a pass through to Silver down the left flank.

The forward took one touch inside before unleashing a sublime curling effort over the head of a diving Watch and into the top right corner.

With Andover 6-1 up, the game petered out in the final 15 minutes.

Glasspool had a half-chance to seal his hat-trick in the final minutes, but his long range effort flew narrowly wide of the right hand post.

The win puts Andover joint top of the Wessex League Premier after one game, but only on alphabetical order to Portland United, who beat Team Solent 6-1 on Tuesday night.

Andover's attention will now turn to their opening FA Cup fixture, which will be played away at New Milton on Saturday.

Their next league fixture at Alresford on Wednesday, August 9 will only go ahead if neither club are involved with FA Cup replays.