Andover New Street FC
Ground Number: 824
Tuesday 11th December 2018
Andover New Street 2-3 Havant & Waterlooville
Hampshire Senior Cup
ANDOVER NEW STREET - A BRIEF HISTORY
The club was established in the early 1890s and was initially known as St Mary's Youth as they were formed by the vicar of the local church. They changed their name to New Street in 1895 before settling on their current name in 2001, Their formative years were spent in the Andover & District and North Hants leagues. In 1976, New Street joined the Hampshire League Division 4, winning two promotions in their first two seasons. They'd go on to spend until 1986 in Division 2 when despite finishing just 12th, they were promoted to Division 1. Mid to lower half finishes were the order of the day here before New Street were relegated to Division 2 in 1990 and then again to Division 3 in consecutive seasons. As quick as they fell, they rose again with promotions in 1992 and 1993 to win promotions back to Division 1. A 5th place finish in 1999 was good enough for them to be placed in the Premier Division upon league reorganisation. They finished as runners-up to VTFC (now named Sholing) in 2004. That year, they joined the Wessex League in their newly formed second tier. Finishes were generally poor, with a low of rock-bottom in 2007 and a high of 10th in 2012. That was until last season when a vastly improved showing saw them finish as runners-up to Christchurch. This season has seen a tricky start with the club bottom of the table at the time of kick off, though they are still in touch with those outside the relegation zone.
Andover New Street entered the FA Cup for the first time this season, winning their debut match 4-0 against Romsey Town but then losing 3-1 at Moneyfields in the Preliminary Round. The club has been entering the FA Vase since 2004 but have an utterly miserable record, winning just one game in 13 - that coming in the 2007/08 season as they beat Clanfield 3-1, prior to losing 4-1 at Holmer Green in the 2nd Qualifying Round. Local cup wins include the Hampshire League Cup in 2004 and the double of the North Hants Senior Cup and Andover Open Cup last season. Andover New Street share the town with local rivals Andover Town, with the town itself having a population of just under 63,000. The town has an RAF base which is the biggest employer in the area. Famous people from the town include former footballer Nigel Spackman and three members of the band 'The Troggs'.
Once again, the list of games available to do was low and with my usual Tuesday hopper going through a very fussy phase, I was on my own again. The fixtures south of me looked just as sparse, but I was glad when I saw that Andover New Street had a home game against Havant & Waterlooville in the Hampshire Senior Cup. Normally, the hosts play on Wednesdays, making a visit unlikely as I'm up at 4 am on both Wednesday and Thursday. With the only options being recent revisits or adding another 60 miles onto the journey, this was the obvious choice. Things had changed since last season when I visited the other town's other club, Andover Town. They enjoyed a big victory when I went and had a team full of big names. The season ended well too with them finishing 2nd and just a point behind leaders Blackfield & Langley. However, they opted not to accept promotion and as punishment, the FA relegated them to Wessex Divison 1. They've had a rotten start with Andover New Street thumping them 5-0 in the North Hants Cup to add to their string of heavy defeats.
The day of the game came and it was my usual day off from work. It was the standard walk down town where amongst other things I bought some nice chicken & cheese nachos for lunch. I came back and spent the afternoon catching up on various things, including tidying up old blogs of games I've been to on this day. Today it was six years since I'd been to Rugby Town, a ground I'd like to visit again. I also made some future plans, booking a week off at the start of March when hopefully I'll be able to do something abroad. The final part of the afternoon was spent doing some work on my Gillingham blog, where I am heading this Saturday to watch Wycombe. After a dinner of Chilli Stir Fry, I got my things together and left at 5.40. It was a fairly decent journey, with me getting to the ground at 7.15. I paid £6 to get in as well as £1 for a very decent programme. I also got a decent portion of chips for £1.20 later on. I went around getting some pictures before going in the bar for 10 minutes to keep warm. 5 minutes before kickoff I went outside and stood on halfway to watch the game. Havant had a few names in their lineup that I recognised, thanks to me listening to the Solent Non-League Podcast. These included former Portsmouth striker Nicke Kabamba who had made 28 appearances for the first team this season, In fact, 3 players started both the previous game against Braintree and tonight's game, with a further 4 playing as a substitute in either game as well.
It was a quick start to the game with both sides creating half chances early on. Lee Molyneaux came closest when he hit the outside of the post for Havant in the opening 10 minutes. Andover New Street took a surprise lead on 14 minutes when a cross was squared back across the area for Shane Locke to finish from around 10 yards. The visitors would turn the game around thanks to a couple of long-range free kicks - firstly from Djamel Leeflang on 24 minutes and then from Will Wood around 10 minutes later. Nicke Kabamba made it 3-1 on 36 minutes when he got away from the defence before rounding home keeper George Baxter before tapping the ball into an empty net. Andover New Street reduced the arrears on the hour mark, Callum Sweeney dispatching a penalty that was awarded for a foul in the area. Both sides had chances in what was a sometimes fractious affair, but there were no further goals, Alfie Rutherford thought he had sealed the game for the visitors in the last minute, but his chip was disallowed for offside. The hosts had given a great account of themselves, but Havant deserved the win and in the end, their quality showed. I left at 9.40, listening to the football and then music on the way home. It was a good night for English clubs, with both Liverpool & Spurs sealing progress through to the next phase of the Champions League. Due to a closure on the M4, I was taken up to Oxford on my way home and then down the M40. This added around 10 miles to my journey but I still got home by 11. It had been a great value night out as far as spending at the club had gone, but high fuel prices and poor fuel economy meant getting there and back cost me nearly £20 which wasn't great.
FOXCOTTE PARK is a nice venue set in pleasant countryside. There are two stands and for once, they are not the standard metal monstrosities. Both are wooden - up the far end of the pitch is a seated one - this is built on top of an old lorry trailer and has a capacity of around 100. There's also a covered flat standing area up the other end, with around 50 spaces in. The rest of the ground is open. I didn't see a club shop or visit the bar but the tea bar was very good and as I didn't see many options near the ground, this is useful.