DEFENDER Sam Roberts proved a good luck charm for his new club AFC Portchester.

The AFC Totton right-back has joined the Royals on a dual-registration basis to help him regain match fitness after a lengthy injury.

Roberts made his Portchester debut off the bench against Sydenhams Premier table-toppers Andover Town on Saturday and contributed towards a shock 1-0 victory – only the third league defeat for the north Hampshire club this season.

Explaining the move, Totton boss Louis Langdown said: “Sam started the season really well and played the first seven or eight games for us before suffering a groin issue which has taken much longer than anticipated to heal.

“It’s been a long process for him, but I think he got half-hour’s game time for Portchester which he wouldn’t have got with us.

“Sam’s only young, but he’s been at Totton quite some time and has always been involved with the squad. He’s racked up maybe 30 games at Southern League level, which is good for him.

“He needs games now. It’s awful to train twice a week, travel everywhere with the squad and never get the chance to get your boots on.”

With star man Mike Gosney on holiday and Jason Silver also unavailable, Andover brought fit-again Connor Cocklin and dual-signed Slough Town man Harrison Gilkes into the starting line-up.

They had their chances in a close game between two strong teams, but ex-Eastleigh goalkeeper Lewis Noice was in unbeatable form for the Royals.

It was Portchester’s Nathan Kirby who settled it on 24 minutes - Steve Ramsey finding him with a pinpoint cross and the striker chesting the ball down before picking out the bottom corner.

Commenting on Twitter, Andover boss Glenn Burnett said: “A tough game, as expected, and unfortunately we came away in defeat. We make no excuses and were beaten by a good in-form @ AFC Portchester side.”

Second-placed Blackfield & Langley made the most of Andover’s slip with a comfortable 4-0 home win over Shaftesbury. Sam Griffin and Lerone ‘Rudy’ Plummer carved up the goals between them, scoring two apiece.

It narrows the gap at the top to 12 points and Blackfield – home to Alresford Town tomorrow (Tuesday, 7.45pm) – have two games in hand over the leaders.

Both Andover and AFC Totton are in Russell Cotes Cup semi-final action tomorrow evening (Tuesday, 7.45pm) at home to Fareham Town and AFC Stoneham respectively