ANDOVER New Street defeated Fleetlands 4-0 to kick start the new season with an emphatic win.

This was always going to be a difficult evening for Fleetlands.

A step up in to the Wessex League, up against Andover New Street – the last season runners up, and then having to cede home advantage some two or three days prior to the game.  Certainly not the start to the season they would have wished.

After an impeccably observed minute’s silence in respect of the passing of home Official Martyn Bradford-Brown, it was the visitors who made the brighter start, keeping possession and threatening with two dangerous crosses from the right before the home side scored with their first meaningful attack after eight minutes.

Callum Sweeney won the ball in midfield and his through pass allowed Darryl Phillips to coolly fire across the advancing goalkeeper and inside the far post. 1-0

Two minutes later and goal number two as a clearance down the middle was totally missed by a visiting defender allowing Cameron Thatcher to slot the ball past keeper Jay Morris. 2-0

An already difficult evening for the visitors looking now more difficult. To their credit they came back with home keeper Sean O’Brien saving well from Marcus Smith.

At the other end an Alex Dockree header shaved the far post with the goalkeeper stranded and Morris clung on to a snapshot from Phillips. George Gregory was at the heart of most of Fleetlands attacks and a run and cross caused problems in the home defence with Callum Dart inches away from making contact at the far post.

The player collided with the post but happily no damage and he was quickly back in the action. O’Brien saved from Gregory before the home side moved forward with three corners in quick succession and a Thatcher piledriver was deflected past the post.

It was another corner, six minutes before the break, that saw the home side increase their lead with Callum Sweeney moving unchallenged to head home Gosney’s kick at the near post. 3-0

It was four on the stroke of halftime with, even at this early stage, what must be a contender for Goal of the Season.

Eddie Perrett held the ball up on the edge of the area before rolling the ball in to Alex Dockree’s path and the tall midfielder rifled the ball in to the top corner from some thirty yards. It was unstoppable. 4-0

As in the first half the visitors were quicker off the mark on the re-start with Gregory again to the fore and there was a lecture for Gosney for a challenge in which he appeared to win the ball, but the referee had a good game over the 90 minutes.

Dart saw a shot saved and when play moved to the other end Lock went down under a challenge with, all be it muted, penalty appeals turned down. New Street commenced the inevitable substitutions – with five allowed per side this season they are going to be plentiful – Joe Rogers and George Hallahan replacing Liam Hibberd and Darryl Phillips and Hallahan’s first touch saw him strike the bar from the edge of the area within sixty seconds of coming on.

In quick succession Gregory and Hallahan saw shots saved and Aaron Moore and Max Allen joined the fray for the home side – by the end of the evening nine of the ten permitted substitutions had been made – but the game was becoming scrappy with the final result now never in doubt.

A low cross by Moore was missed by everybody in the visiting penalty area before the last real chance of the game came with a free kick to the visitors on the edge of the area but the shot was high and wide and after just three minutes stoppage time – may that continue – the final whistle sent all back to the dressing rooms.

A good start for the home side prior to their FA Cup trip to Warminster on Saturday while the visitors can console themselves in that Street should be very much involved in the promotion race again this season.

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