ANDOVER Town and Whitchurch United will be hoping for their first league win of the season, when they clash at Longmeadow this evening.

On Saturday, Whitchurch lost at New Milton Town 3-1 as Craig Rutledge scored their only goal.

Meanwhile, Town made their exit from the FA Cup beaten 5-2 by United Services Portsmouth in the Extra Preliminary round at the ground of AFC Portchester.

However, the score does not reflect the game as a whole, as at times Andover were the better team and their performance was a positive step change from the league match last week.

Only a 15-minute period of lapses was between the Town and a far more successful outcome.

Andover started strongly and the in the second minute, Solomon Mawo was through heading towards goal when he was brought down, fairly but forcefully just outside the penalty area.

US Portsmouth then had chances, and Harry Potter rattled the crossbar.

Shortly afterwards Mark Cotton had a shot, which at first looked like it had hit the side netting, but unfortunately resulted in Kieran McHardy having to retrieve the ball from inside his goal.

The next 20 minutes of play all belonged to Andover. in one attempt Josh Bertie took a strike which seemed to take for ages to reach the goal as the away fans held their breadth to see if it would dip under the crossbar.

Unfortunately, it didn’t, however later in the game a similar shot did which delighted the faithful fans.

Only minutes later Bertie had another attempt, this time hitting the goal post which deflected back into play only for the waiting Joe Hunt to put it to safety.

Bertie and Mawo once again turned up the heat on Portsmouth’s defence and put a move together to give Jake Watson his first try on goal.

Hunt was able to defend the goal effectively this time, however, it was his mistake that finally gave Andover the chance to score their first.

A relatively simple looking cross to defend was not held by Hunt and the ball came back out into play where Bertie was ready to punish the error and for Andover to receive reward for their play up to that time.

The remainder of the first half played out as an even match with both sides creating chances.

In the first few minutes of the second half Andover had two more chances one which was cautiously saved by Hunt and another which hit the cross bar.

Then in a period of less than 15 minutes Andover conceived four goals.

The first was a counter attack from the early Town chances.

Shortly after making a fantastic save from close range McHardy was then beaten by Michael Dark as the save had not been cleared effectively.

US Portsmouth’s third goal came from a scramble following a corner which was eventually put in by Callum Glen.

Goals four and five came very quickly, Dark got his second from a pass in from Cotton and another run and pass by the number 11 gave Potter his opportunity.

Despite the scoreline, Andover never gave up and Mark McAuley, Powell Ihunan-ya and Bertie continued to challenge the Portsmouth defence and goalkeeper.

If you had only started watching the play at this time it would not have been obvious that one of the teams was four ahead, as the game was being played like a cup game that either side could win.

Then just before the final whistle Bertie scored the goal he threatened in the first half.

This time the ball fell nicely into the top corner giving Andover players and supporters something to celebrate.

Even though Andover did not manage to get the win or replay they will be financially better for having played in this round. The play was a great improvement on the match last week and if the team manage to keep up this rate of progress the next meeting of these two teams is likely to result in a vastly different outcome.