In an emotionally charged Test Valley derby, Andover FC managed to clinch a thrilling victory over Romsey Town, marking a potential turning point for their season, writes Roger Fawcett.

However, the closely fought encounter was overshadowed by a distressing incident involving debutant Alfie Budd, who suffered a severe injury.

Romsey Town started the game with a bang, racing to a 2-0 lead within the opening five minutes.

Goals from Ethan Madden and Joe Sutherden highlighted Andover's recent struggles.

Yet, despite their shaky start, Andover managed to regain their composure and conviction as the match progressed.

However, the game took a somber turn in the 33rd minute when Alfie Budd broke into the penalty area and had an innocuous collision with Miles Bartram, Romsey's goalkeeper.

The severity of the injury became immediately apparent, with Bartram calling for medical assistance as Alfie lay motionless on the pitch for nearly 20 minutes.

It took an additional 30 minutes before Budd could be safely moved onto a stretcher and transported to the hospital.

The entire football community, including players, officials, and spectators, was visibly shaken by the incident.

A prolonged and heartfelt round of applause echoed through the ground as Alfie left the field.

Bartram, the Romsey goalkeeper, stayed by Alfie's side, providing support and comfort until the ambulance arrived.

Play was suspended for approximately 50 minutes, and when the match resumed, a subdued atmosphere prevailed.

In the 41st minute, Reggie Hadan capitalised on a through ball, narrowing the score to 2-1 at halftime.

The second half saw an evenly contested match, with Romsey enjoying the lion's share of possession.

However, resilient defending and profligate finishing cost Romsey dearly.

Andover grew into the game, and in the 81st minute, Sanjay Samuda believed he had scored, but his effort was disallowed due to a marginal offside call.

Andover intensified their efforts and, in the 81st minute, substitute Runo Agberhiere deftly navigated past two defenders to level the score at 2-2.

The excitement continued, and in the 89th minute, Reggie Hadan secured his second goal of the game, giving Andover a thrilling 3-2 lead.

With resolute defending, they held on for the remaining minutes, ending their losing streak with a memorable victory.

While the victory was a cause for celebration, the match was marred by the unfortunate injury to Budd.

The entire club and its supporters extend their well wishes for his recovery.

Despite the sobering incident, Andover's performance, marked by conviction and sustained effort, offers a glimmer of hope for the season ahead.

Andover's next match is a North Hampshire cup tie scheduled for Saturday, October 21, with an away game against Hampshire Premier League's Stockbridge, kick-off at 3 pm.