ANDOVER Town set out to score their first points of the league season, against Verwood who arrived at the Portway as the league leaders on Saturday.

Andover fans were pleased to see the return of Solomon Mawo, but Nathan Lunness was not available after sustaining an injury in the game with Romsey earlier in the week.

The game once again tested goalkeeper Kieran McHardy, including a penalty, which he saved.

However, there was still some extremely positive play reinforcing the demonstration of potential, which is clear to those who have been watching the progression of this new team.

The match had an even start before Verwood opened the scoring when Ben Hatch made a run down the centre of the pitch.

McHardy came out to save, but Hatch chipped the ball over his head. Sam Mills chased in vain to recover, but the ball beat him into net.

Jordan Ragguette had the first Andover attempt when his shot was blocked and launched high into the air.

Unfortunately, it came back into the ground straight into the hands of Ed Tierney.

Not long after Charlie Gajic had to clear for his team as a Josh Bertie free-kick came tantalisingly close to giving Andover a well-deserved goal.

Andover were to have a few more near misses in the game.

In the first half Jake Watson had a shot from a way out, although it was saved, on another day it would have a spectacular winner.

Then just a few minutes before half time a Verwood corner set up Joe Kimber who launched a cracking shot.

McHardy was stretched to his limits but he knocked it clear. The fans in the stand erupted into applause and even the away fans commented on the quality of save.

Within the first minute of play in the second half, Verwood found themselves have to defend a Bertie/Watson move on their goal.

However, the ball was to travel straight down to the other end where Andover conceded a corner.

This corner resulted in Verwood’s second as Michael Johnstone found too much space to miss.

The away side then had a purple patch hitting the goal post and forcing McHardy to make another match defining save as he was forced back onto his upright.

On about the hour mark Verwood were awarded a penalty as two players came together and the officials conclude a foul had been committed.

The Verwood captain Russel Dyer stood up to take. He hit the ball to McHardy’s left hand side, but the Andover goalkeeper read the penalty well and saved the shot to the delight of the home fans.

Raguette and Nickoy Pinnock put a few good moves together and in the middle of the second half were close to scoring when Raguette ended up with the ball outside the penalty area and the crowd shouted shoot, he did but the ball went high over the crossbar.

Andover continued to be challenged in defence.

Both Mills and Owen Trapnell worked really hard to keep the hopes for league points alive. However, with 20 minutes to go Gajic scored from a great cross that Eaton was waiting to put away if he had missed.

Andover took the opportunity to make some changes and to try newly signed players.

There was once again some promise from the changes but not enough to turn the game around.

Not long before the final whistle Trapnell made a majestic cross across to Pinnock but there was no-one ready to put the ball away.

Verwood had a few chances in the last minutes but Andover determination kept the ball out of their net.

At the present time every game is a steep learning curve for the newly formed Andover Team.

Every player is giving there all and it won’t be long until their hard work pays off.

It is an exciting time as it feels like once the points start happening there could be some really spectacular wins.

Andover are next in action on September 1, when they are at home to Petersfield.