Andover Town (1 - 2) Win City
City travelled to The Portway on Tuesday evening to face Andover Town, the side formed in 2013 by Andover and Sparsholt Colleges who took over the ground from the now defunct Andover F.C.
The Club's place in the academy feeder system of Southampton F.C., gave expectations of a tough game and so it proved although the home side's long ball game came as a disappointment and played right into the hands of the City defence.
City dominated the first twenty minutes of the game without much to show for their effort. Leigh Mills went close in the first few minutes but the Andover 'keeper pulled off a good save to push the ball over the bar. Chris Mason put in a long range shot which the 'keeper had no problem with.
The first real chance of the game fell to Andover's Jordan O'Donnell when he was presented with a 'sitter' but scuffed his shot.
Andover were creating very little with Adam Tomaso and Joe Wright picking off the long and high balls and Stuart Green, Mills and Luke Dempsey benefitting in midfield as Andover missed their own midfield out playing directly from back to front.
As City continued to press and Sam Wilson got his head to a cross from Dominic Cope but it was easily saved and a deep run by by Tomasso saw him shoot just wide.
Just before half time Mills was well into the Andover penalty area and put a header over the bar.
City's pressure told early in the second half when Green slipped the ball through to Wilson and he beat the defender before finding the net with an angled shot (49th).
Five minutes later the City management duo decided to freshen the attack and replaced Geoff Dunn with Mike McEnery and almost immediately Andover equalised! City failed to clear their lines and the ball fell to Alex Docree to blast home.
City came back and McEnery worked the ball down the flank for Warren Bentley to chest down but before he could shoot it was hacked away.
In the 65th minute Dominic Cope was replaced by Zack Glasspool and this change soon had an effect. McEnemy jinxed almost to the Andover goalpost but put his shot wide and then Bentley looked to be heading the same way when he was brought down. City appealed for a penalty and to many in the ground it looked as if he was fouled deep in the box but the Referee awarded a free kick just outside!
Glasspool dropped the free kick almost on the penalty spot and Bentley out muscled a defender to head home the winner (81st). It was very pleasing to see the enthusiastic response to the goal given by both the team and supporters.
Chris Manning came on in the 84th minute replacing Chris Mason and right at the death it looked as if Glasspool had completely wrapped up the points but Andover 'keeper brought off a good save.
It was City's passion and determination to win which saw the game through and which bodes well for the future.
City: Jason Collins, Adam Tomasso, Joe Wright,Stuart Green, Leigh Mills, Geoff Dunn, Chris Mason, Sam Wilson, Dominic Cope, Zack Glasspool, Ryan Holloway, Mike McEnery, Chris Manning and Liam Green.