Romsey Town 2-3 Andover Town


Romsey slipped to a third home league defeat and out of the Division One playoff places as they squandered a two goals’ lead to lose the Test Valley derby by the odd goal in five to struggling Andover Town last Saturday.

In an eventful encounter that was marred by a serious knee injury to the visitors’ Alfie Budd and saw a first half delay of fifty minutes whilst an ambulance attended, there was little indication in the early stages that the form book would be upset, writes Tony Galsworthy.

The Bypass Boys made a flying start when centre back Ethan Madden marked his home debut with a goal after just two minutes, as Andover ‘keeper Bufton spilled a floated free kick from Geoff Dunn into the defender’s path for a simple tap in. Three minutes later and Bufton was again at fault as he fumbled a low shot from Josh Jeffrey and his strike partner Jo Sutherden was on hand to net the loose ball.

The visitors were not bereft of attacking ideas though and Town ‘keeper Miles Bartram was relieved to see a lobbed effort go wide, before he had to leap to make a one handed stop from an unmarked Connor’s back header. Romsey though were posing problems with a string of corners and free kicks with Alex Wilson going closest to adding a third goal when his header went wide.

The injury to Budd in the 30th minute, as Wilson cleanly won a challenge and the striker fell awkwardly, resulted in a lengthy delay and on the game’s resumption, Andover snatched a goal when Hodan cooly steered a through ball into the corner to halve the deficit at the interval. Town’s misfiring forward line spurned good opportunities when Jeffrey’s shot went wide, Sutherden fired over the bar from close range and Liam Magee charged down Bufton’s clearance, but a third goal proved elusive.

In the second half the contest was far more even as the game swung from end to end, but it was Andover who turned the game on its head with two goals in the final three minutes. Samunda, who had a goal chalked off for offside earlier, evaded two challenges to fire home before he outpaced Madden and squared for Hodan to score in the winner in the final minute. Town fans were left scratching their heads as to how their team gave the league leaders Hamworthy Recreation such a close run game just four days earlier and then capitulated to a side in 20th position and with just one win to its name.

Reflecting on this outcome, Town boss Andy Samuels said: “I’m extremely disappointed with the performance after the long break due to the injury. The players know how unhappy I am. To play so well for thirty minutes and go 2-0 up, then throw it away is unacceptable. Yes, we were down to bare bones but there was enough quality out there to win today. We’ve hit a bump in the journey, maybe a big one looking at recent results, but we need to get over it quickly and work to hopefully to winning ways as soon as possible.” 

Romsey have a chance to do so on the artificial surface at Havant & Waterlooville’s West Leigh Park tomorrow afternoon when they take on league newcomers Clanfield (ko 3pm) in Division One action.