ANDOVER TOWN won their Russell Cotes Cup semi-final with a 4-1 victory over visiting Fareham.

They will now face AFC Stoneham who overcame Southern League AFC Totton in the final.

Fareham arrived at the Portway with just one defeat in their previous 11 matches and fought hard but Andover were outstanding all evening and fully deserved this important victory.

After the Hampshire Senior Cup the Russell Cotes is the most prestigious of the county cups and will be a welcome addition to the eventual winners trophy cabinet.

The pace of the early exchanges suggested that goals would not be in short supply and Andover duly took the lead with fourteen minutes gone.

George Hallahan’s fine effort itself deserved a goal but the visitors goalkeeper did well to keep it out at the expense of a corner.

Reece Rusher’s subsequent kick found Alex Dockree who found enough space to bundle the ball over the line.

Almost straight from the restart Fareham thought they had equalised but the first of several fine saves by Luke Cairney denied the opportunity.

Ben Cook and Dockree both went close and at the opposite end Ash Tattersall’s dangerous cross flashed across the area but failed to find a recipient.

Just past the half hour mark Andover who had already won five corners gained another. Once again Rusher swung the ball into the area and this time it was Joe Wright who provided the finishing touch.

Fareham were a little unlucky when Gary Austin’s strike came back off the bar and three minutes before the break Andover opened up a decisive three goal advantage.

As the Fareham defence went awol Hallahan’s intelligent pull back found Rusher who volleyed in from twenty yards.

A minute later Josh Holmes pulled a goal back for Fareham to set up an intriguing second half.

Early in the second half Rusher sent in a volley from wide on the right that looked goal bound but the ball drifted inches wide of the far post.

A Conner Cocklin header was cleared off the line and at the other end no one was positioned to convert another demanding Tattersall cross.

Rusher was a constant threat to Fareham throughout and when he went clear just after the hour mark a goal looked certain.However a defender recovered well and his excellent tackle denied the opportunity.

With just over 20 minutes the fourth and decisive goal arrived.

Yet another Rusher corner was sent into the area where a display of head tennis ensued before Dockree scored his second and more importantly put the match beyond Fareham’s reach.

They did have a late chance but this time the effort by Holmes struck the bar.

It was left to the indefatigable Rusher to have the last word. Clear on goal and inside the area he managed to fire high over the bar from 10 yards out.

This Saturday, the Wessex Premier leaders are back in league with a top of the table clash at Blackfield and Langley.

They then face Horndean on Tuesday night.