Fawley threw away a lead in the dying moments at The Portway Stadium on Saturday, losing 2-1 to bottom of the table Andover Town.
This season Fawley have rescued a few results from the latter stages, a two goal comeback to rescue a point at east cowes in the last four minutes. A three goal comeback in ten minutes to win away at Calne Town. On this occasion they were on the receiving end as Andover Town equalized in the 89th minute and then won the game in the 95th.
The Oilers started the game very well, Andover were insistent on playing out from the back and often giving the away side several chances to attack from dangerous positions. Most of the opportunities were wasted and in a period of the game where Fawley should have punished and taken an early lead, Andover came out without being punished and grew into the game. Zac Willis did score, but the linesman had flagged for a handball offence. The handball had occurred after the ball had crossed the line whilst Willis fell into the net. Clearly not going to be his day.
In particular the Andover wingers were a real threat, direct and full of tricks. The Fawley back line definitely knew they were in a game and in for a difficult afternoon at The Portway. A few last ditch tackles and routine saves from Parker-Trott in goal kept them at bay for now.
Fawley were already missing 16 players from the squad, many injured and to make matters worse left back Mike Macleod had to come off before 20 minutes with a foot injury. His replacement Matt Hawkins on the recovery from a groin injury, aggravated the injury and had to play on in pain.
Just when luck seemed to be running out for Fawley and chances were being missed at both ends of the pitch, they did find the breakthrough. Mark Lilley worked a crossing opportunity from the right which found an on rushing Ollie Bradley to fire home from the edge of the box. Ollie was a bright spark in the first half down the left and causing problems for their right back.
HT Andover Town 0-1 Fawley
Fawley came out and started this half as they finished, on top and relatively comfortable. It didn’t last long though as Andover took control of the game and forced Fawley deeper into their half. The match turned into Fawley sitting deep and playing on the counter while Andover dominated the ball and attacked wave after wave.
A cross wasn’t dealt with in the Fawley area which led to a big scramble. The ball fell to Reece Macey who was eventually pushed onto the floor, still in possession of the ball, the Andover no9 stamped on his leg which sparked a big row between the teams. Reece in considerable pain and a nasty mark, the referee deemed it a yellow card offence and in the aftermath booked Macey for complaining. The away side believed it was a clear red card offence. Macey played on injured with little options available on the bench for defensive cover.
Andover Town’s wingers were still a threat and central defender Martin Buckthorpe was in very impressive form keeping everything away from the Fawley goal. The Oilers had a spell in the last 15 minutes where the game should have been killed off. First Ollie Bradley fired a cross into the 6 yard area, an incredible goal line clearance from Andover defender Mark Keogh snuffed out the danger. The resulting corner was met by Pete Southwick, a clear header on goal, only to hit the back of Zac Willis’s head. Willis himself worked an opportunity in the box, but missed at the near post. Lastly sub Tom Munday weaved his way past their defence, into a one v one situation, but his effort was saved.
Andover leveled the score after piling a lot of bodies forward in the final moments, worked a cross for their No9 to tap in from 6 yards, the first attempt was saved, but the rebound hit him and just about went in over the line. The large crowd celebrated like a final and Andover felt an opportunity to win the match was on the cards when the referee signaled five minutes of added time. Whilst Fawley were also going for the win, they got caught out and allowed another dangerous cross from the left to come in. This time it appeared Macey had it under control, but missed his clearance and the No9 was there to tap in again for his second.
Harsh lessons learned on the road for Fawley, a very depleted squad and some bad luck with referee decisions. They still had a lead and enough chances to win the match, to come away with nothing was very hard to take. Andover however got their first points of the season and did play some nice football. The attacking threat they have will see them pick up more points sooner than later.
FT Andover Town 2-1 Fawley
Line Up: 1. Parker-Trott, 2. Rafferty, 3. Macleod, 4. Earl, 5. Buckthorpe, 6. Macey, 7. Bradley, 8. Lawrence, 9. Willis, 10. Southwick, 11. Lilley, SUBS: 12. Hawkins, 14. Burch, 15. Munday