DENHAM AT THE DOUBLE AS T&E FALL TO DEFEAT AT NEW STREET
Ben Hillman welcomed back the Fear brothers, Lewis and Rian, while Johnny MacAuley and Ryan Sanger returned to The Millers squad, they were still missing Joe Selby in midfield. Tom Lycett joined up with the side after completing pre-season with AFC Totton.
The game got underway fairly evenly, although T&E created a few opportunities in the opening 15 minutes, while playing some good football. Matt Hartmann and Ash Shergold starting things of with some menacing play in the final third before being snuffed out by the defence. Danny Clarke showed some good awareness to break free and square for James Matthews, who’s shot was saved by Andover keeper Sean O’Brien. Following this, Hartmann made a decent cross field pass to find Matthews on the right wing, who squared into the area for Clarke, but the cross was cleared before The Millers frontman could get there. Finally a fantastic team move from Totton saw Clarke utilise some great footwork to get away from his man to find A. Shergold, who beat 2 before seeing his near post shot saved by O’Brien. Rian Fear also played a measured pass after spotting Matthews’ good run, but it the pass was a bit heavy and got away otherwise Matthews would’ve been in on goal.
Andover began to get their way into the game, after Totton had lost Dylan Gain due to injury and manager Ben Hillman was forced to shuffle the pack yet again. Their only chance previously, fired over the bar by Kieron Le Brun, who felt he should’ve done better. A freekick went harmlessly over Oli Eyres bar before Danny Urry played a clever pass for Connor Thorne, who was beaten to the ball by Eyres as the hosts began to be more expansive in their play. Although showing some well drilled short corner routines, nothing really troubled The Millers until Eyres had to be on hand to gather Brett Denham’s header at goal. T&E finished the first half with the final chance of note, A. Shergold doing very well to find Matthews on the right, who took a low hard shot at goal which was saved by the keeper, when perhaps he could’ve squared for Clarke, but nonetheless it was a good piece of play from Totton. HT 0-0
The hosts were out of the traps quickest in the second half and in the lead within 2 minutes of the re-start as a cross from the left found DENHAM, who had the easiest of finishes, nodding home into a half empty net at the back post as Eyres scrambled to get across. Totton tried to respond well with Matthews yet again causing problems on the right wing, getting inside his man and firing low and hard at goal, which this time O’Brien was forced to turn away for a corner which the keeper claimed. But for Totton’s good response, they would only find themselves 2 goals down on the hour mark. The ball broke free at the feet of DENHAM, who fired home first time, side footed into the far corner, in what in truth was a clinical finish.
Now in the ascendancy, New Street had more or less control of the game and bought the best out of Millers keeper, when Thorne combined with substitute Mike Davis to find Denham, who’s effort forced Eyres to make a top save to keep Totton in with a chance of getting something from the game. The returning Johnny MacAuley was bought on to replace Kieran Nagle-Kelly who had picked up a knock, linked well with Matthews and the latter’s effort was off target as the writing seemed to be on the wall for Totton and just a minute later, Andover wrapped the game up. Mike DAVIS picking up the ball centrally, on the edge of the ‘D’ was allowed far too much time and space from The Millers defence to be allowed to pick his spot and curl a lovely 25 yard shot into the far corner beyond Eyres, who had no chance.
Although The Millers wouldn’t stop battling and picked up a consolation goal with 4 minutes left on the clock. After R. Fear had done well to get down the left and found Danny Burns, Burns’ shot was deflected up into the air and into the keepers hands, Danny Clarke did well to get in a decent enough cross which forced a New Street defender to steer the ball over his own line and give Totton a glimmer of hope, which nearly became much more than that, when Sean O’ Brien handled outside of his area after rushing out to meet the ball, he saw red and New Street were down to 10 men. But this didn’t stop Andover seeing out the game well and taking all three points. FT 3-1
The Millers will be disappointed with the scoreline, considering how they handled the first 45 minutes. Although Andover deserved their win, Totton were hampered losing Gain midway through the first half and despite battling away, today the hosts were good value for their win. But if The Millers can keep up their first half performances over the whole 90 minutes, then results will surely come for Ben Hillman’s boys. Although they still look for their first points of the season, you suspect they won’t be too far away from getting them so long as they can extend their decent first half performances. T&E will try again this (Tuesday 29th September – 7.45pm) when they entertain Folland Sports in their first home game of the 2020/21 season.
Millers Lineup: Eyres, L. Fear, R. Fear, Gain*, Lomax (c)***, Lycett, Matthews, Hartmann, A. Shergold, Clarke, Nagle-Kelly**.
Subs: Burns*, L. Shergold, Moss***, MacAuley**.
Adi Rose at Foxcotte Park.