Our unbeaten streak ended at 17 games, when we lost at home to Lymington in our final match of the month. We dropped to fifth in the league, our lowest position in a while. Totton & Eling appear to have things well in hand, so it looks like we'll be returning to the Wessex Premier next season.
7 February: Alresford 1-1 Andover
Mark Wetherald was resolute on defense, and he added a goal as well; his thumping header of an Adam Hamilton corner kissed the post on its way in. Another match, another draw, another point.
14 February: Bournemouth F.C. 0-4 Andover
My October signing of Alan Morton has proven to be a very good piece of business. The powerful target man from the Isle of Sheppey collected a hat trick today and, what's more, he hit them all with his left foot. Not bad work for a lad who is said to be "right foot only." Joe Clarke got the other goal for us.
21 February: Bemerton Heath 0-1 Andover
This was one of the must-see matches of the season. Over a hundred hardy souls turned up at Portway on a cold, rainy day to watch us entertain the Harlequins, who are among the teams scrapping with us for a shot at the league trophy. Adam Hamilton reminded us all that he can score goals, too, with an 88th-minute strike that secured the result for us.
I decided to change things up a bit, and bring in a Director of Football (if I could find a suitable one). I found such a man, Mu Wood, an avuncular chap with a good eye for talent.
Mu found a new man for us straight away. Michael Gill is 24, a central midfielder with good vision and technique and a silky first touch. I'm also very pleased with his mental approach to football. He's a scrappy, terrier-like player, all 5'3" and 134 pounds of him. He made his debut today and played well. He's also our first player under contract through the 2015/16 season.
28 February: Andover 0-1 Lymington
It's easy to write this one off as a case of the lads letting down after the big win against Bremerton Heath, but that's not what happened at all.
This week, Martin Parkin was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back, which might cost him the rest of the season. The skipper was just regaining his fitness from the ankle injury he received before Christmas. Not having him on the pitch to calm the younger lads down will be a big loss.
From a list of three candidates Mu Wood suggested, I offered a loan deal to Bryn Haynes, a winger who'd fallen out of favor at Paulton Rovers. Bryn is 24, and he's the kind of player I envision as an "Andover man." He works hard, he's determined, he's fit, and he demonstrates teamwork. We're paying £20 of Bryn's salary while he's with us for the remainder of the season.
Mu must know I have a tendency to collect central midfielders, because he found us another one this week. Nick Hanson had been looking for a club all season with no success. I can't understand why nobody took a flyer on him. He has a Jovial personality; I'm not sure what that means in FM, but our coaches think it's a good thing. He is very determined, which I like, and he strikes a mean dead ball. Nick will immediately enter our midfield rotation. He's 27, and should be in his prime.
Both new men were in the eleven against Lymington. Nick was subbed off just after the hour mark when he picked up a yellow card, and Bryn ran out of gas ten minutes later. They'll both be fine.
So will we all. We have a game in hand on the teams right above us in the table, so we might move back up to second if the results work out the right way.