A GOAL four minutes from time denied Andover their first point of the 2019, but arguably the result was a moral victory after they

conceded 10 in the reverse fixture on the season's opening day to title chasing AFC Stoneham

Stoneham were the better side across the 90 minutes but Andover’s performance at the back was much improved but up front they

wasted several chances that may have made the difference.

Mark Keogh and Nickoy Pinnock were both suspended so new signing Luke Andrews made his debut,whilst another newcomer Kaine Macauly was amongst the substitutes.

Andover did well to resist the early pressure from Stoneham and for a short while played the better football before the home side took the lead after 18 minutes.

A quick break down the right hand side caught the visitors out and the subsequent cross filtered through to the far post

allowing Matt Bainbridge to apply the finishing touch.

Stoneham then had two further changes in quick succession and only excellent goalkeeping by Kieran McHardy prevented the second one doubling the scoreline.

Josh Bertie and Ben Emans then had chances and whilst Stoneham continued to be a constant threat the Andover backline coped well.

As the first half moved into time added on Andover scored their well deserved equaliser.

Good play by Shaquille Gwengwe forced a corner which was taken by Brendon Holmes.

The ball found Powell Uka who sensibly laid it off to Gary Thorne who volleyed in from the edge of the area.

Much of the second period was confined to the middle third of the pitch.

Stoneham remained the better side but the Andover defence in which Andrews and Thorne were outstanding kept them at bay admittedly sometimes with more luck than judgement.

With 15 minutes left Stoneham’s Chris Manning from 30 yards out hit a peach of a volley.

The effort had goal written all over it but McHardy superbly tipped it over the bar.

The small contingent of the Andover faithful were then beginning to think that a draw would not be an unrealistic result but their enthusiasm faded four minutes from time.

Stoneham were awarded a highly debatable free-kick around 25 yards from goal.

Manning again stepped up but this time McHardy was powerless as the ball flew into the net.

The win for Stoneham took them to the top of the Wessex League Division One table.

Things get no easier for Andover this Saturday, when they travel to Amesbury, who were dethroned from top spot last weekend, as their seven game winning streak was ended with a 2-2 draw against US Portsmouth.