Game 22: Andover Lions 1.2 Four Marks (Hampshire League Division 1)
A feeling of deja vu as I drove past Andover Town’s ground and took the next left to the Charlton Leisure Centre where Andover Lions play. The Lions pitch is in the centre of an athletics track and with no cover I was glad that the rain that did fall in the afternoon wasn’t too heavy. This area was a hub of sporting activity with the local Rugby club and Andover Town both in home action as well. I could make out some of the floodlights at the Portway and could hear when Andover scored in a 5.0 win against Fareham.
Before the game, Andover Lions were presented with the division title trophy and a Four Marks player also got a presentation for top league goalscorer. We kicked up just before 3pm and the first goal hit the back of the net before most games round the country would have kicked off. Four Marks played a direct pass through the middle and their player kept onside to take the ball forward. He tried to take it round the keeper but couldn’t get it past so played the ball back to a team mate. Often in these circumstances the ball gets hit high over the bar but the Four Marks player took aim and kept his shot at chest height, beating the covering defenders. After the goal Lions had a lot of the play but weren’t able to get past the solid Four Marks defence. A few free kicks were given outside the area but didn’t trouble the spectacled keeper.
Four Marks added a second shortly after the restart, a Lions backpass was under hit which allowed the Four Marks player to win the ball before the Lions keeper could get to it, take the ball round the keeper and knock the ball into the unguarded net. Andover Lions managed to pull one goal back when a good run and cross from the left found an unmarked player on the far post to score. They couldn’t manage an equaliser for their first league draw of the season so had to settle for a third defeat in eighteen league games.