ANDOVER Town extended their lead at the top of the Wessex League Premier Division to nine points after a comfortable 3-0 win over visiting Brockenhurst.

The Bluebirds first game of 2018 saw them entertain a side they had beaten in the New Forest in November.

On Saturday, not at any time did Brockenhurst look like they would gain revenge, as they were unable to finish any of their attempts and any that penetrated the Andover defence were efficiently saved by the home team goalkeeper Luke Cairney.

The home side won 3-0 and even had the luxury of failing to convert a penalty, after scoring three the week before.

Andover started brightly against Brockenhurst with a fantastic run by Mike Gosney saw an equally good pass to Zach Glasspool who was left with no defender to beat.

Glasspool does not miss opportunities like this and within three minutes the home team were ahead.

Only two minutes later, Jason Silver found himself benefitting from some poor Brockenhurst defending and Andover were in the perfect position to go two up.

Unfortunately, Silver’s attempt was put over for a corner.

Brockenhurst then put a few good moves together, which should have presented Andover with a lot more problems.

A well taken free-kick by Mark Barker found the head of Will Tickle and should have put them level, but he missed the target.

Andover seemed to be living dangerously at the back as there were a spell of strange but effective choices made by Cairney.

These clearly showed his confidence in the defence even if they did make the home crowd hold their breath a couple of times.

Halfway through the first half it appeared Andover had scored their second goal as Gosney celebrated an excellent finish from close range.

However, the whistle had blown due to him having taking the ball out during the build-up.

Alex Dockree then fired over after beating a couple of away defenders and Ben Cook’s effort was blocked after a goalkeeping error from Edward Kitcher.

The game had spells of extremely fast flowing football and soon after after Cook’s attempt Jude Nwachukwu had a half chance for Brockenhurst, which was deflected out for their first corner of the match.

After this Silver’s cross narrowly missed contact with Glasspool’s head and the Silver-Glasspool combination continued to thrill as Glasspool won the ball from a Brockenhurst defender and turned to pass to Silver in front of goal in a manoeuvre which would have looked good in higher leagues. Unfortunately, Silver could not finish the extraordinary move.

Approaching half time Brockenhurst turned up the heat and although the build-ups were good the accuracy in front of goal was not.

The best chance probably came for Barker who in the last minute of the first half found himself with only Cairney to beat. The shot was strong but the save better.

The visitors started the second half in the same mood, they finished the first and Barker looked dangerous forcing Cairney to make another couple of good saves.

George Hallahan was brought on for Andover replacing Glasspool early in the second half and within 60 seconds he had his first attempt from an assist by Liam Hibberd.

Nine minutes into the second half Andover had a corner which led to a number of touches in front of goal and Gosney hit a shot which was put out for a corner.

From this Gosney found himself in an unmarked position at the side of the goal. There was no second chance needed as he scored Andover’s second.

Even though the home crowd should have been confident in the play at this time there was a sigh of relief when Barker was substituted for Noel McCarthy-Gardiner.

Barker had been Brockenhurst’s greatest weapon and the best threat to penetrating the Andover defence.

It looked like Andover were going to get a third when a Cairney goal kick found Hallahan on side deep into the Brockenhurst half with only Kitcher to beat.

Instead it came back to Silver who once again missed an opportunity as he hit it straight at the grateful goalkeeper.

Reece Rusher was brought on for Andover to replace Ben Cook in a like for like change, with both players being greatly appreciated by the home crowd.

Following a run of three corners for the home team the final one resulted in Gosney being fouled by Roman Moore in the area and a penalty was awarded.

Gosney stepped up to take but his shot hit the post and the ball came back to Hallahan who hit it wide.

Shortly after the missed penalty the same two players were involved in an extremely slick move. Gosney ran down the side line and passed to Hallahan for an easy finish. The duo made it look easy and Andover led 3-0 and saw out the rest of the game for another excellent win.

Tomorrow night, Andover are at home again when they face Paulsgrove in the quarter-final of the Russell Cotes Cup.