ON THE first cold and wet Saturday of the season Andover travelled to Little Testwood Farm to play Totton and Eling, who have experienced an equally challenging a start to the season.

The first half was the most promising yet for Andover as it gave them a clean sheet at half time, for the first time this season.

Kieran McHardy undoubtedly was pivotal in making this happen as the communication and understanding between himself and his defence was the best to date.

However as the second half progressed cracks in the armour appeared and once again the experience of the opposing team was too much for Andover to contain as they won 3-0.

The first half did not provide the crowd with a flurry of goals but there were a number of chances for both sides.

In the case of Totton their attempts were saved by McHardy.

Andover only managed to test Callum Ward a couple of times, but when they did the Totton goalkeeper looked beatable.

Brendan Holmes continued to play with a maturity way above his career to date.

He found himself in a more attacking role than normal showing his versatility and adaptability.

Following on a long ball in for Shaquille Gwengwe put him in a goal scoring position, which Ward needed to header clear to prevent the centre forward from scoring.

The ball came out for Josh Bertie who had Andover’s first shot on target, albeit straight at Ward.

Totton’s first viable attempt was in the 17th minute when they were awarded a free-kick just a few yards outside the penalty area, which sailed over the bar.

The stand behind McHardy was brought into play on a number of occasions as the home side were less than accurate with their shots.

In the second half there were already signs that the tightened-up Andover defence were beginning to struggle with the other team’s experience.

The first Totton goal might have come sooner if it wasn’t for some fast running by Nickoy Pinnock, Holmes defending with a header and McHardy placing himself perfectly to counteract an attempt by Joe Selby.

Then 20 minutes after the break Josh Metcalf found himself on the right end of a free kick and was able to angle the ball out of McHardy’s reach.

The next two goals came quickly. The second was a result of Andover losing concentration momentarily and McHardy was left vulnerable.

The third actually took a deflection off an Andover player, leaving the goalkeeper no chance.

The best opportunities in the remaining minutes of the game came firstly to Bertie with a free kick which went high over the crossbar and lastly from Pinnock’s header.

Andover are at home to Fawley on Saturday.