Romsey Town fell to a narrow 3-2 defeat on Saturday in their penultimate game of the season away to Downton.

Although Town can’t improve on their current position in the table, boss Andy Samuels was keen for his side to maintain the impressive improvements they’ve made since he took up the position as Manager in February.

Samuels was by no means complacent going into the game, saying: “I’m looking for us to continue the way we’ve been playing of late and with most teams’ seasons coming to end, I want to ensure that we end the season well, playing the high quality of football that we have come to expect so that we can begin our preparation for next season’s campaign on a high.

“We have made it clear to the lads that we have already started the process of planning for next season.”

It looked like those words had an effect on the Romsey players as they dominated the opening twenty minutes of the game on a warm afternoon at Wick Lane which saw them go close to opening the score on several occasions. Within minutes of kick off, 17-year-old Oli Bailey drilled in a perfect low cross, resulting in a goalmouth scramble which was eventually dealt with by a Downton defender.

In the next attack, Town came even closer, this time the ball fell kindly to Mitch Parker, but he blasted the ball just over the bar from close range. Finally, Romsey’s pressure paid off when a quick corner taken by Oli Bailey, found Indrit Elezi whose cross was only half cleared to the edge of the area, where captain Josh Harvey drilled the ball into the bottom left corner of the net.

Unfortunately as has happened on a few too many occasions this season, Romsey found themselves behind following two quick replies in succession from Downton in the last five minutes before the half time whistle.

The second half got under way with the hosts dominating the game, but Romsey replied to the Downton attacking play when they broke on the counter, the ball falling to Jordan Prince who volleyed home the equaliser thanks to some help via the post to score his second goal in as many games.

With both sides now pushing for a winner in the dying minutes of the game, Downton were fortunate to be awarded a free kick on the edge of the box. Stand in keeper Jamie Wiseman, who had been called up from retirement from the game to fill in with regular keeper George Passingham away, pulled off a great save low down to his right, the ball was turned back into the six yard box and after the Downton forward struck the ball goal-wards it somehow found its way into the Romsey net via numerous deflections.

After the game, Samuels had mixed emotions: “Obviously I’m very disappointed to lose, especially given that once again we earned the right to go a goal up, but frustratingly we seem to make it difficult for ourselves and allow teams back into matches by not defending properly caused by lapses in concentration.

“That said, again I can’t fault the character of the lads as we bounced again to draw level, but unfortunately on this occasion we couldn’t go on and find the winner. Dave (Hazelgrove) and I are taking note of the areas we need to work on over the summer period ready for the start of what we expect to be a great season starting in August”.

Club Chairman, Ken Jacobs, remains enthusiastic about the changes that have been taking place within the Club this season, saying that the standard of football from such a young squad has been phenomenal and can only go from strength to strength as we approach the new season. “The local support we have had this season has also been hugely encouraging,” said Jacobs.

“More families are now coming back to the Bypass Ground on match days and crowd numbers at our home games have soared in comparison with recent years. We are also seeing increasing numbers of supporters travelling to away games, which for me indicates a very positive and bright future.”

Romsey Town’s final game of the season is this Saturday, 25th April away to Cowes Sports, who need to win to be promoted although Samuels will be hoping his side can spoil the celebrations.