ANDOVER New Street scored three goals away from home to beat Fleet Spurs.

This was not a game that will live long in the memory bank – a fairly cheerless afternoon in terms of the weather, a seemingly bumpy pitch and a home side who frequently had nine men in their own penalty area – but a comfortable victory for the visitors despite being far from their best, especially in the second half.

For reasons of sickness or injury Street were without Ross Cook, Adam Pearson, Lewis Alderman, Sean O’Brien and Luke Hooper and started the game kicking down the slope with Reece Rusher and Shane Lock combining with the latter’s shot just missing the far post.

Street rather wasted an extremely soft free kick on the edge of the D before a powerful drive from outside the area from Zach Hine hit the inside of the post and defied the laws of Geometry by bouncing back in to play, but within a minute the visitors were ahead.

A corner from the right was only partially cleared and Harry Lawton’s clever pass, when most were expecting a cross, allowed Lock to beat goalkeeper Bufton from a narrow angle with just eleven minutes on the clock. (0-1)

Fleet’s Dale Small was wide in a rare attack, Robbie Owen’s shot from a Lawton cross was straight at the keeper and a Lock cross was unceremoniously cleared high over his own crossbar by Connor Allison but generally Street were missing out with the final ball.

On the half-hour mark the lead was doubled as Lee Morris found Hine, another powerful shot was blocked with Robbie Owen slotting the loose ball home at the second attempt. (0-2)

The home side’s Chinva Finn Archer escaped with a lengthy lecture following an off the ball challenge and within seconds was cautioned for another challenge. A very lucky man to see the game out.

Nick Holmes (not the one who played some 450 games for Southampton) rolled the ball back to Bufton who produced a total air shot and was rescued by his defence at the expense of a corner which the keeper claimed to bring the half to a close.

Bufton started the second half with a clearance that Weatherall fielded after one bounce and the Street keeper then was forced to leave his area to beat Jack Wilson to a through ball only for the Assistant to very belatedly raise his flag for offside.

An equally late, and dubious, flag at the other end denied Lock before Max Allen cleverly steered Matt Scott’s long ball in to Lawton’s path with the crossbar again saving the home side. However, the midfielder was not to be denied and in the next attack fired across the goalkeeper from the left and inside the far post. (0-3)

Effectively game over with thirty minutes still to play, when the home side did have a chance to narrow the deficit – a clumsy challenge being penalised by the award of a penalty- Wilson’s spot kick hit the post and the chance had gone. Having struck the post in the first half another Hine drive crashed against the bar before Lock was denied by another offside flag that was not dubious – it was wrong with the Assistant at some odds with the last defender.

At various stages of the half Cameron Thatcher, Mikey Davis and Joe Rogers came off the bench and then came something of a rarity nowadays as Bufton was penalised for picking up a back pass. Ashley James, who never put a foot wrong in partnering Scott in the centre of the defence, rolled the kick a couple of yards and again the woodwork came to the home side’s rescue as Rusher’s shot rebounded to safety off the post.

The game then finished in some confusion as home defender Small, who had been spoken to by the referee more than once for his persistent dissent, was seemingly sent to the Sin Bin. He was very reluctant to go and may indeed have been sent off, but time ran out before his ten minutes was completed. Either way it did not affect the outcome.

As stated earlier there have been better matches and better performances, but Street collected the three points and kept a clean sheet and can now look forward to the Boxing Day derby with Andover Town which will be a very different game.