FAIRFORD Town were knocked out of the Buildbase FA Vase as two early goals saw Andover Town progress to the second round stage for the first time in their history.
It was a game of two halves as the visitors dominated the opening half against a Fairford side who had gone down to ten men, before a second half rally from the Reds almost forced extra-time.
Fairford boss Gareth Davies recalled Jack Ellis to the line-up in place of Shayne Hibbert for what was a fiercely contested encounter at Cinder Lane, in front of a crowd of 101. The Reds went a goal down early on when Connor Cocklin met a well placed corner to power a header home.
It was a fast start from the visitors and they were soon 2-0 to the good. A goalmouth melee saw Luke Dempsey react quickest to drive his side into an extended advantage.
Fairford rallied and gained some composure with Ellis and the lively Jason Milhench both going close with Andover stopper Jarid Hixon in good form. However, three minutes before the break a lunge from Fairford midfielder Luke Cordery saw the Reds reduced to ten men.
The second half was a different story; the Reds’ rallied well despite the numerical disadvantage, with pace out wide from Milhench and Morse forcing the visitors back. It was a superb cross-field ball from skipper Sam Ockwell that saw Milhench brought down for a penalty after the hour. Lee Smith stepped up and slid the ball home and it was game on.
Despite a flurry of a second half chances, with Nathan Blackford striking the bar and substitute Hibbert denied on the line at the death, it was Andover who stood firm to seal a second round place.
F/T: Fairford Town 1 Andover Town 2
Fairford Town: Mitchell; Chilcott (Boucher), Dainton, Ockwell (capt), Jackson; Smith, Blackford, Cordery, Milhench; Ellis (Hibbert), Morse
Subs not used: Alexander (GK), Hall, Saunders
Andover Town: Hixon, Stubbs, Blakeman, Cocklin, Gregory (capt), Dempsey, Lock, Dockree, Glasspool, Sweeney, Grange
Subs: Onoufriou, Santafe-Vivo, Plumber, Blackell, Bray
Match Sponsor: Colosseo Ristorante, Fairford