ANDOVER came agonisingly close to recording the victory they so desperately need as they fell to a narrow 13-12 defeat away at Warlingham.

However the All Blacks did pick up an important bonus point on their travels which keeps them two points clear of the relegation places.

Andover suffered the late withdrawal of Callum Morrow for family reasons and with Sam Froggett being helped off with a head injury early on things looked bleak for the visitors.

However stand-in players Charlie Waite and Billy Pollard, led by James Dawson, produced an impressive performance.

Despite determined work throughoutthe team, Warlingham’s pressure eventually told after 25 minutes.

Warlingham had a success with a long range penalty and followed this up with a converted try.

But within minutes Andover struck back.

From a spell of pressure, the lively Ash Gait charged down a clearance and from a ruck, giant second row Tom Erskine forced his way over, with Waite adding a superb conversion against the wind.

Warlingham landed one more penalty before the break but with wind and slope to come Andover seemed in the driving seat.

Andover replaced Carl Sievewright with James Monk on the tighthead and the scrum continued to dominate the early stages of the second half.

The home side’s frustration boiled over and a yellow card soon followed.

With a short scrum against seven, Andover looked certain to score, but the official penalised Andover and the chance went begging.

It was a temporary respite however as the powerful running of Reed and prompting of Jenvey kept Andover going forward.

After a series of rucks Erskine again forced his way over.

Then in a crucial piece of disastrous luck the ball blew from the kicking tee before the conversion could be struck by Waite, to leave the home side a point ahead.

With plenty of time left it shouldn’t have mattered but Andover became nervous and errors started to creep in.

Andover pressed and pressed, but a mixture of poor finishing and poor decision making let them down.

In the last few minutes Elliott Copestake, Stefan Long and Dawson Ratu all had chances butit was notto be and when a kickable penalty was scrummaged instead, the chance to squeeze home was gone.

Warlingham held on to the delight of their large home support.

After the game coach Andy Waite said “We can point to bad luck, unavailability, lack of cohesion and all sorts of things but excuses won’t keep us up.

“The side we had today did this club proud and was easily good enough to win, but we quickly need to learn to turn our dominance into points, by staying calmer and being more patient when we are on top.

“I would like to thank the likes of Charlie Waite, Billy Pollard and Alex Hibdige who all volunteered for unfamiliar roles this week and all did superbly and Aaron Hatcher who stepped into the back row.

“Mostly though a special thanks to second team stalwart Harry Foxwell, who travelled at late notice to make sure we had a full bench.

"It’s this club spirit that will see us through in the end I’m sure.”