9 August: Andover Town 1-0 Winchester City
We opened our season in fine style. Mark Wetherald scored the game's only goal, pouncing on the rebound when Winchester 'keeper Jay Gill palmed away Adam Hamilton's free kick. Our back four was solid all day long, and Jamie Overson kept a clean sheet.
16 August: Torpoint Athletic 0-3 Andover Town
Southern Senior Cup, First Round
We traveled to Plymouth for this Cup tie, against a Level 10 club we were supposed to have little trouble with. The match turned out as expected. Darren Almond converted a penalty, and both strikers--Adam Hamilton and Jack Walker--found the net. Almond and his fellow center half, Mark Wetherald, were very active, making 32 interceptions between them.
The board is happy, and so am I.
23 August: Verwood Town 1-1 Andover Town
All the scoring happened in the last two minutes of the first half. The Stags drew first blood through wee Anthony Cohen (5'2", 114 lbs). We drew level a moment later, when Darren Almond volleyed home an Adam Hamilton corner.
2 September: AFC Portchester 2-4 Andover Town
Nobody fancied us to win this one, with good reason. Portchester are one of the big clubs in our division, and they'd be playing us at home.
Lately, I've been keeping things very simple when I manage lower league teams. I play a very basic 4-4-2, with only two team instructions: More Direct Passing and Work Ball Into Box. The resulting football isn't pretty, but my players tend to have lots of pace and not much technique, and this style of football seems to suit them.
I decided to try something different this time. I instructed the players to Play Out Of Defense, and told the goalkeeper to distribute to his center backs. We geared back to a Counter mentality, hoping to keep things solid in the back and hit Portchester on the break when/if the opportunity arose.
The results were fantastic! We had 54% of the ball, and we outshot our opponents, too. After giving up an early goal, forwards Alan Barrett and Adam Hamilton powered us into the lead. Barrett completed his brace before the interval, and after the Royals pulled one back, Hamilton hit his second, too. Midfielder Danny Hutton was Man of the Match, with two assists.
Unfortunately, we lost two strikers to injury. Barrett's was relatively minor; his aching elbow will keep him out for three weeks or so. James Hawes got the worst of an accidental collision with a Portchester defender and fractured some ribs. He'll be shelved until early November, at the earliest.