Newport’s reign at the top of the table – having gained the position by their goal feast in midweek – lasted just four days as Andover Town took their unbeaten run to nine games with the winning goal coming four minutes from time.

The home side largely had the best of the game throughout and at two goals ahead looked home and dry before the somewhat muted visitors pulled the scores level in the final ten minutes only to concede a third goal as the clock approached the ninety minute mark.

There was a cautious start from both sides with corners at both ends that came to nothing before Jordan Browne rather scuffed his shot when in sight of goal.

Josh Berti saw a free kick rebound off the wall, was too high with another effort and was then beaten to a through ball by goalkeeper Joe McCormick as Andover enjoyed a spell of pressure.

Ben Emans, honoured before kick off with a presentation to mark his 100th appearance for the club, and Brendon Holmes were behind most of the home attacks and an inviting cross from Emans found no blue shirts in the area.

Bertie went down acrobatically and theatrically in the area for what would have been a penalty in the Premiership but in the Wessex League common sense prevailed and the game carried on. Newport were relying on the quick break with Connor Kelly burying a shot in keeper Karl Steinborne-Busse’s midriff and Jacob Reynolds grazing the crossbar with a snapshot on the turn and as the visitors finished the stronger the ball was cleared from the foot of the post in a scramble but the half, for all the endeavour shown, finished goalless with only one real save apiece from the two goalkeepers.

McCormick held a cross after some juggling and then saved with his legs from Berti, though in reality it was a missed chance, before the home side took the lead with five minutes played. Emans took the ball to the byeline, the cross was low and accurate and Berti slotted the ball home. (1-0)

Newport introduced Jake Wright from the bench with an almost immediate reward as the substitute broke clear, there was (rightfully) no offside flag and it needed a flying save from the Steinborne-Buss to maintain his side’s advantage. Andover then lengthened their lead rather than maintained same when Dave Jerrard’s clever pass sent Berti away down the right and he lashed the ball in to the net from some twenty five yards. (2-0)

He had been wasteful with his shooting prior to the break but this effort was unstoppable. Andover wasted a free kick, given when they would probably preferred the advantage, before a game that seemed firmly in their grasp suddenly looked like slipping away from them. With some ten minutes left the home defence failed to deal with a free kick and in the ensuing scramble Joe Craig headed the ball over the line. (2-1)

Then followed the all too usual childish argument as to who would pick the ball out of the net leading to two deserved but totally unnecessary cautions, one for each side. Three minutes later it was all square as a diagonal ball from the right split the defence and Connor Kelly beat the advancing goalkeeper and the visitors were right back in the game. (2-2)

To their credit the home side were not finished and a long run and cross from Owen Trapnell was unselfishly turned across the six yard area by Jerrard for Freeman Nyakumbi to side foot home, his first goal for the club. (3-2)

Still time for a minor scare at each end before the final whistle ended an enjoyable well contested and well refereed game. Newport in no way “parked the bus” but until the closing period they seemed reluctant to commit too many men forward, thereby ceding territorial advantage, but Andover are developing in to a more than useful side.