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Andover v Eastleigh - Glen Damen Testimonial


Tuesday 15th July 2008
Pre-Season Friendly

By Jamie Montigue

This testimonial match for Andover stalwart Glen Damen, player of almost 400 appearances for the Portway Stadium club, began at a frantic pace with the hosts making the most of the lively opening.

Just four minutes into the game, Andover raced into an early lead through MICHAEL TURVEY.A long, diagonal ball forward from the half way line on the near side was sprayed across the pitch to perfection by Brynley McKie, where Turvey took control and did all the rest.

The winger cut inside from the left, taking on the back-pedalling Eastleigh right back Neil Davies, before planting a fine side-footed effort beyond Gareth Howells and into the bottom right hand corner of goal.

It might have been worse for Eastleigh and probably would have been were it not for a fantastic saving tackle from Peter Adeniyi, who denied the goalscorer Turvey the opportunity of doubling his tally four minutes later.

Chris Mason had a half-chance to put Eastleigh level on 10 minutes but couldn't make the most of it, before the youngster then made a good turn and early cross from the far side only for goalkeeper Dave Hook to claim well.

The next ten minutes saw both sides scrapping for possession and more of the ball in the air than on the deck. Neither side could find their passing rhythm for the time-being.

Spitfires summer signing JAMES BAKER found a 21st minute equaliser. The build up to the goal wasn't the prettiest, in fact it was rather scrappy with Andover managing to keep out two or three previous attempts in a chaotic, goalmouth scramble before the ball eventually fell to Baker who found the net with a clinical strike.

Peter Adeniyi was forced to withdraw with half an hour played, as he picked up a knock before hobbling off gingerly. Anthony Riviere came on to replace Pete, slotting into the centre of midfield alongside Luke Byles, who perhaps was being played further up the field with the opening day of the season in mind where both Adeniyi and Riviere will be missing through suspension.

Six minutes before the break, Eastleigh now looking more like themselves again, the visitors came close to taking the lead. Aaron 'Spud' Martin's long ball forward from the back was brought down by Baker before being pulled back across goal though unfortunately, it was just a yard behind Tom Bird.

Chris Mason crossed for Bird a moment later, where the former Football Icon participant and Basingstoke left-sided player had a decent shot charged down and deflected for a corner.

Just before the break, Eastleigh in full flow once again, Aaron Milburn played a one-two with Byles and almost got on to the return ball, which Hook snuffed out racing off his line to save low down. Baker was also involved in the link up play and it was a shame it didn't lead to a goal going into half time.

HALF TIME: Andover 1-1 Eastleigh

At the start of the second half, Matt Groves came on for Baker to play alongside Milburn in the Eastleigh attack, and the ex-Dorchester and Lewes striker very nearly created a goal within minutes of his introduction. Knocking a good ball down for Anthony Riviere in front of goal, Groves presented the Spitfires with a further chance of going ahead, however the defending was brave and the shot charged down for a corner kick.

Sadly Glen Damen's final farewell to Andover came a little early as he came off in the 56th minute to be replaced by Neil Champion.

Baird made a double substitution two minutes later with Tom Jordan taking over as captain from Ashley Vickers, and Tony Taggart coming on for Trevor Challis. Byles reverted to a more familiar defensive role at left back allowing his former Havant team mate and scorer of a sublime goal in Eastleigh's first pre-season friendly against Grays last Friday night, Taggart, to play in the centre of midfield.

Ben Buckland gifted Milburn with the ball on the near touchline on the hour mark and was fortunate his error did not cost his side a goal. Milburn's pass in search of Groves' run into the penalty area was a little heavy and the opportunity was gone.

Six minutes later, Neil Davies made way for Andy Harris.

Eastleigh survived a brief scare as Danny Sullivan's ferocious attempt with his left foot shaved the outside of Gareth Howell's near post and cannoned away to safety. This, following a well-crafted Andover move with neat interplay between the two forwards.

In the 72nd minute Eastleigh got their just rewards for their pressure with ANDY HARRIS drilling a powerful free kick all the way through a crowd of players before sailing into the back of the net. It looked as though there might have been a deft touch from Tom Jordan who raised his hand in celebration, claiming the goal as his. Whoever the goal goes to, the most important thing for Eastleigh and Ian Baird was that they had finally gone in front and could now push on in attempt of killing the game off.

The chances came thick and fast for the Spitfires with Aaron Martin forcing an unbelievable save out of Hook with a close range volley, the Andover keeper somehow managing to keep the ball out. It was not long before Eastleigh had the ball in the back of the net however as just three minutes later, a Tony Taggart cross was turned home by AARON MARTIN to put Eastleigh 3-1 ahead.

Adam Shepherd made a brief appearance towards the end of the game coming on for the highly impressive trialist Tom Bird.

Five minutes from time, Anthony Riviere teed up Taggart playing the ball in from the right, where the midfielder struck the ball sweetly with a first time left-footed strike that came within inches of goal.

In a fantastic climax to this testimonial/pre-season friendly, CRAIG MARTIN, a former Eastleigh reserves right back now playing for Andover, made things even more interesting pulling a goal back with a phenomenal strike from 30 yards, that flew past Howells and into the net like a rocket.

With just two minutes to play, TOM JORDAN ensured his name was on the score sheet for certain, what with the debate about the second Eastleigh goal, as he stroked home his first ever goal for his new club from an unselfish pass by Groves.

FULL TIME: Andover 2-4 Eastleigh


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