ANDOVER Town lost their top of the table clash at Blackfield and Langley 3-1, but their lead at the top of the Wessex Premier League is still nine points.

This was a the second of three difficult away trips the Horndean the last on Tuesday night weather permitting.

For the trip to Blackfield, new loan signing from Bath City was added to the squad and came off the subs bench along with Ben Cook, when the Bluebirds made a double change early in the second half for Michael Hubbard and Liam Hibberd .

Both teams started in attacking mood. Reece Rusher was awarded a free-kick within seconds of the start, which he took well, but Brad Snelling took it even better in the Bradfield and Langley goal.

Very shortly afterwards Luke Cairney was being tested in the Andover goal by a Franklyn Clarke free-kick which beat the wall but not the diving goalkeeper.

The home side won their first corner early on, it was taken well, but cleared by the head of Alex Dockree. Rusher continued this game with the sparkling play he had demonstrated on Tuesday evening and it was not long before some clever play by Zach Glasspool and Harrison Gilkes set him up for a shot.

Snelling was able to save but it did provide Andover with a corner, unfortunately they were unable to make anything of it.

The game was settling into a midfield battle with neither team looking the most likely to score, when Andover gave away a penalty.

Clarke made no mistake in putting his team ahead, the ball was put into the bottom left hand corner, with Cairney diving in the opposite direction.

Shortly afterwards, a free-kick smartly controlled by Connor Cocklin, led to an attempt on goal by Adam Costello however the referee had blown his whistle for a foul before the final shot could be made.

However, the home side did not take long to extend their lead when an unchallenged run down the wing by Lerone Plummer resulted in a cross which found Clarke unmarked.

The ball hit the back of the net and Blackfield and Langley were looking good for a comfortable win.

Within minutes of the second goal a long ball from the half way line found Glasspool out on the right hand side of the penalty area.

The angles looked wrong and there did not seem to be any chance of scoring, but Glasspool managed to pull it back and Andover had narrowed the difference.

This goal seemed to liven up the away side and it started to look like there was a battle developing.

Blackfield in fear of losing their lead, began a spell of sustained pressure. Cairney was under constant attack, Sam Griffin put one wide and there were a number of crosses which the Andover goalkeeper needed to take care of.

Andover had chances to make the score even before the half time whistle. There were two particular moves, both involving Liam Hibberd, the first landing at the feet of Rusher, whose cross was put out for a corner and the second fell awkwardly for Dockree.

The visitor’s best spell of play was probably the beginning of the second half.

Shortly after the double substitution Gilkes made a run down the wing looking for an opportunity to cross. Unfortunately, a clear chance did not materialise and Gilkes ran out of pitch, resulting in a goal kick.

Glasspool and Gilkes set up Rusher for a cross back to Glasspool which needed flicking back across goal.

This time the challenge was too great and the attacking move was unsuccessful.

In the 56th minute, a foul on Dockree in the box had the away side shouting for a penalty. None was given but this period of play was looking good for an equaliser.

Only a few minutes later, Joe Wright took a free-kick which found Cocklin who only just put the ball wide.

The goal kick was taken, and against the flow of play at this time, Liam Robinson put one past Cairney close to the near post to make it 3-1.

From this point on Bradfield and Langley looked like winners and nearly scored a fourth, however this time Cairney came out to narrow the angles and the ball was hit straight at him.

The home team continued to look dangerous and although Andover broke through the defence on a couple more occasions the chances were not easy to come by.

Cook had a good chance when a Hallahan pass found his head in front of goal. Unfortunately the shot went straight towards Snelling.

Blackfield displayed good control of the match and Andover were unable to create and finish the types of chances they have demonstrated throughout the season.

They did fight hard though and did not stop trying until the whistle blew for full time.