After Spain’s El Classico at the weekend, footballing thoughts in Andover turned very quickly, and undoubtedly very much more keenly, to the Andover Classico at Foxcotte Park, the fourth meeting to date this season between Andover New Street and Andover Town.

Apart from local bragging rights this was a meeting between two sides very much in the Division One promotion race and attracted an incredible attendance of 570, probably the largest recorded at the ground.

Street were without Matt Scott, Danny Field, Chris Flood and Mike Gosney because of injury and there was a scrappy start to the game with the pace rather frantic and in the first action of note in the visiting half.

Mikey Davis found Shane Lock, but the shot was blocked and then won a corner that came to nothing before keeper Karl Steinborne Busse saved bravely at Ross Cook’s feet as the striker broke clear.

Cook was too high with another effort that was technically a chance, and a Joe Wright cross was held under the crossbar before Town’s first attack of note ended with a Ryan Griffiths shot that was saved by home keeper Jordi Wilson at full stretch.

There was little chance for anybody to really hold the ball, such was the pace of the game, and Street were too often falling foul of the offside flag.

A free kick after Cook was fouled came to nothing but Steinborne Busse looked a little fortunate when he appeared to lose his bearings and was grateful to see a Lock cross drift inches wide of his far post.

The home side were looking the more dangerous and Nathan Primus collected the first booking of the evening for pulling back Davis after he had broken clear, with Harry Lawton too high with a header from the resulting free kick.

The dangerous Griffiths was then stopped by weight of numbers before the half ended with another Town defensive block denying Reece Rusher.

Town made a change at the break with Owen Trapnell, who to the surprise of many had been omitted from the starting line-up, coming in to the back line and it was his side that made the early running.

Brendan Holmes had a shot charged down before Ashleigh James was harshly cautioned for a foul on the edge of the area and Holmes smacked the free kick against the bar though Wilson’s fingers may have got a touch.

That was the closest to a goal as yet and was quickly equalled at the other end when Cook struck the post from a narrow angle after a clever Liam Hibberd pass created the opportunity.

Seventeen minutes in and the deadlock was broken as the home side made ground down the left through Joe Wright with the cross headed back across the area for Cook to volley home off the inside of the post. (1-0)

But the lead was only to last for five minutes as Town in turn broke down their left and Tom Pattison’s low cross evaded all in the area allowing the unmarked Adam Pattison to beat Wilson at the far post. (1-1)

Back to square one so to speak with neither side prepared to shut up shop and both looking for the winner, but the pace of the game was taking its toll with some tired limbs and misplaced passes on both sides.

Wilson saved well from Adam Pattison, the midfield battle continued unabated and the Town goalmouth survived one or two hectic scrambles but there were no clearcut chances and the final whistle came with honours even.

This was a typical local derby but played in good spirit and well refereed, Mr Whitfield’s experience allowing the game to keep moving as much as possible.

Overall, Street probably had the chances in the opening 45 minutes while Town shaded the second half but the pace of the game gave no opportunities for such as Rusher or Ben Emans to shine while Adam Pearson very much kept the speedy Griffiths in check.

It goes without saying that both sides wanted the three points but New Street may be just the happier with only one, and one suspects that the huge crowd enjoyed what they saw.

The two clubs now look forward to important games on Saturday, with Steet hosting Newport and leaders Bemerton visiting the Portway as the promotion battle continues.