Andover Town held league leaders Bemerton for a draw as continue to push for a playoff place.

Encouraged by the gritty performance at New Street, Andover fielded a near full strength side with Josh Bertie starting for the first time since returning to the club.

The game had a very controversial start as after three minutes what looked like a definite handball by a Bemerton defender in the penalty area was waved away by the referee and the linesman did not intervene.

A bright start to the first half by both teams saw a snapshot in the 15th minute by the Bemerton striker Tyrell Mitford fizzing just over the bar.

The first of what was going to be many bookings came in the 25th minute when Owen Trapnell was carded for a robust challenge.

A couple of minutes late a nice through ball from Holmes brought about a good shot from Griffiths and a good save by Patrick Crease the Bemerton keeper.

Both teams looked very evenly balanced as the half progressed. After 40 minutes Griffith found a lot of space in the penalty area and it looked like a certain goal until the ball grazed the left post and went out of play. A closely fought first half ended with Town just about shading it.

As the second half started it seemed that Town were still in the changing room as in the 48th minute a shot from inside the penalty area by Bemerton's Harry Beckley eluded Steinborn-Busse and settled into the back of the net. (0-1)

In the 55th minute Tom Pattison was replaced by Wayne Robinson making his debut for Andover. He looked lively going forward right from the off and created a good chance for skipper Holmes whose shot was cleared off the line by a defender.

Several substitutions from both side followed and Andover looked increasingly threatening as they pushed for the equaliser in the final quarter of the match.

In the 70th minute there was another convincing penalty claim for Andover when Ryan Griffiths was unceremoniously bundled over in the penalty area by Kane O'Keefe.

Andover continued to push forward and it was no surprise when in the 75th minute Michael Owen flicked on to substitute Robinson who cushioned the ball and Griffiths volleyed home from close range. (1-1)

With 15 minutes to go and Bemerton increasingly had to defend strongly.

Despite a flashing drive by Owen in the 81st minute Andover failed to capitalise on their superiority. In the 85th minute Griffith was again pushed to the ground in the penalty area by George Bennett who got a second yellow and was sent off.

The game ended with a hard fought draw which was a fair result with both sides battling it out throughout. With New Street surprisingly losing at home to third place Newport IOW, a point suited both teams.