SYDENHAMS Premier leaders Andover Town have reinforced defensively with the signing of Adam Costello from title rivals Blackfield & Langley.

The former Christchurch and Wimborne Town centre-half slotted straight into the backline for Saturday’s 2-0 win over Newport IW at the Portway Stadium.

First-half goals by George Hallahan and Mike Gosney were enough to seal victory and, with Blackfield’s scheduled game at Fareham Town rained off, Glenn Burnett’s men are now a massive 15 points clear at the top of the table with around a third of the season remaining.

“Adam is a perfect fit for us and is the type of player that will help us moving forward,” said Burnett.

“He has a lot of versatility in playing positions.”

The game began badly for Newport whose veteran goalkeeper Gary Streeter sustained a head injury just three minutes in following a collision with Joe Wright, but fortunately he was able to continue after treatment.

Islander Emerson Tattersall caused early problems for Town with some lively runs, but it was Andover who made the eighth-minute breakthrough when Alex Dockree set up Hallahan to the thunder the ball home.

Hallahan was in the thick of it again eight minutes later, leading to the Islanders conceding a free kick on the edge of their area.

It’s at moments like that when Gosney comes into his own and the former AFC Totton maestro came up trumps yet again, netting a well-struck set-piece for his 23rd goal of the season.

Costello nearly etched his name on the scoresheet in the 66th-minute when sub Reece Rusher picked him out with a cross, but his header was smartly turned away for a corner by Streeter.

Charlie Urry proved to be a thorn in Andover’s side but was constantly thwarted by the lineman’s offside flag and, with frustration growing, Newport collected a flurry of yellow cards.

The second-to-bottom Islanders have another tough assignment ahead of them tomorrow (Tuesday, 7.45pm) when holders Sholing visit in the Sydenhams League Cup quarter-finals.

Newport’s Isle of Wight neighbours Cowes Sport were also on the end of a 2-0 away defeat at bottom-of-the-table Petersfield Town.

It was the first win in 112 days for the Rams, ending a run of eight straight league defeats.

Both goals came in the second half with Danny Thompson’s penalty and a powerful Jordan Geddes header making it an afternoon to cherish for Peterfield.