SYDENHAMS PREMIER DIVISION
WARREN Bentley scored a rare header to get title favourites Winchester City back to winning ways in the Sydenhams Premier Division.
Having slipped up at home to reigning Division One champions Petersfield Town just over a week ago, City made amends against the other promoted club Andover Town, triumphing 2-1 at the Portway Stadium.
When the old Andover FC went under three years ago, it looked as if Andover-Winchester derbies were a thing of the past.
But Town’s emergence has rekindled the rivalry, attracting a crowd of 226 tonight.
After a goalless first half, Winchester drew first blood when striker Sam Wilson found half a yard of space in the area and stabbed the ball home with his toe.
Alex Dockree levelled and City had a let-off when, from a swift counter-attack, Andover’s former Winchester striker Nic Turpin volleyed against the post.
The decider came ten minutes from time when Bentley was brought down and a free-kick awarded. Sub Zach Glasspool swung it in and Bentley headed home from inside the six-yard box.
“We were adamant it was a penalty,” said Winchester co-boss Danny Robinson. “Wozza came down the right one-on-one with their left-back and was fouled inside the box, but a free-kick was given. Luckily Zach, who we were trying to keep fresh after playing the last two games, swung a great ball in and Wozza’s headed it in.
“It was the first Andover-Winchester game for some time and it was a typical derby. I felt we shaded both halves possession-wise, but Andover are a good side.”
City – up to eighth - face another big test of their title credentials on Saturday, at home to John Robson’s Blackfield & Langley. “I can’t wait for that one,” said Robinson.
*Winchester will entertain Ian Chalk’s Bemerton Heath Harlequins in the FA Cup first qualifying round on Saturday week (September 13).
Having fallen behind to a 20th-minute Sam Pekun goal in tonight’s replay at Bournemouth Poppies, Bemerton hit back through Tom Roberts (penalty), Jack Eves and Neil Williams before Fawzi Saadi struck late, leaving it 3-2 in the visitors’ favour.
FA CUP first qualifying round draw for local clubs (matches to be played on Saturday, September 13): Horndean v Newport IoW, Yate Town v Dorchester Town, Winchester City v Bemerton Heath Harlequins, Sholing v Chippenham Town, Poole Town v Bradford Town, Mangotsfield Utd v Weymouth, Longwell Green Sports v Folland Sports, AFC Totton v Swindon Supermarine, Frome Town v Wimborne Town, Blackfield & Langley v Alresford Town or Sherborne Town.