Andover Town were unable to bounce back from a disappointing ending to the Andover derby during the week, with a 4-3 defeat away at Wiltshire neighbours Downton.

On a hot, sunny afternoon, Town arrived at The Nest missing 10 senior players due to a variety of commitments.

The management team had always identified this as a fixture that would be difficult during the month of August due to limited availability and that proved to be the case.

Burchill, Johnson and Stamburi all started whilst two young Andover College Academy players took their place on the bench to bolster numbers.

The first 45 minutes proved deeply frustrating for the travelling supporters.

Never threatening going forward, Downton were as good as Andover were bad.

They duly took the lead when Danny Clarke hit a shot from the edge of the box. It looked like Hopwood might get there but the shot squeezed through and the home side were in front. Not long after, Stamburi stuck out a leg and clumsily fouled Downton’s forward.

At 2-0, this game would have been insurmountable with the way Town were playing but Hopwood pulled off some heroics, keeping out the penalty and ensuring Andover went in at half time only one down.

Downton started the second half in the same way, dominating possession and causing Andover problems.

However, that all changes at the 50 minute mark, Michael Owen bullying the opposition centre back to win the ball before cutting in from the left and beating the keeper to equalise.

Not long after, Josh Bertie scored his fourth in three games after more good work from Owen.

Suddenly, Andover were looking dangerous time after time and should have put the game to bed through Bertie.

He cut in from the left, rounded the keeper and could have squared the ball for Burchill or Pattison to score.

Instead, his right foot effort went wide of the mark.

Moments win football matches and this, coupled with Alfie Moulding’s sin bin moments later, prevented Andover from building on their momentum and putting this game to bed.

Moments before Moulding was due to re-enter the fray, Downton found an equaliser with the ball headed into Hopwoods far corner.

The home side capitalised on a mistake between Burchill and Smith to get a third before a strike from close range made it 4-2. With seconds left, Stamburi prodded the ball home from a corner to half the deficit but it was too little too late.

A return of one win in four when it could so easily have been three from four now places greater emphasis on the double header with Folland.

With key players returning, Andover will hope they can build confidence to close the gap to the table toppers.