Barnes frustrated after Fareham miss out on win

Rob Wilson. Picture: Allan Hutchings (14390-859)
Rob Wilson. Picture: Allan Hutchings (14390-859)
Matt Cox scored for Havant. Picture: Keith Woodland

Havant give leaders Exeter a big scare

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Ben Barnes believes Fareham did more than enough to snatch a late win in their season opener against Isca on Sunday.

The visitors fell agonisingly close to getting maximum points and had to settle for a 2-2 draw in their first match of National League conference west.

It was certainly a very eventful game and we could have stolen the three points late on.

Ben Barnes

Fareham came from behind twice and new signing Ed Carson had a glorious chance to seal victory in the last 30 seconds but his flick over the keeper flew just over the bar.

Barnes said: ‘Overall, I’m frustrated we only drew.

‘It was certainly a very eventful game and we could have stolen the three points late on.

‘We finished the stronger side and had three or four chances in a row.

‘It was a case of when not if we were going to score.

‘We have to accept the point and move onto the next game.’

However, the Henry Cort side lacked precision with their passing early on and Exeter-based Isca capitalised on this to take a fourth-minute lead thanks to Rick McCollum.

Fareham drew level in the 13th minute from Ben Hibberd’s penalty stroke, after Danny Rawlings was bundled over.

Ex-international Rob Moore came close to opening his account but his rasping reverse-stick shot came off the goalkeeper’s helmet and went wide.

The hosts got their noses back in front just before half-time, though.

Goalkeeper George Harris made a good save from Isca’s penalty corner but former Fareham player Simon Tremlett scored from the rebound.

Barnes’ side almost had the perfect start to the second period.

Moore struck a defender’s foot on the line but the resulting stroke was pushed round the post by the keeper.

Fareham continued to pile on the pressure, leaving them vulnerable to Isca’s counter-attacks.

Harris was forced into two smart saves to keep the score at 2-1.

Their second equaliser came in the 58th minute, when Rob Wilson deflected in from a penalty corner.

Fareham then pushed on. Josh Godfrey had a good shot saved by the keeper and Carson, who is the younger brother of England international Tom, had a deflection sneak just past the post.

Most galling of all, Carson flicked just over the bar with seconds to go.

Barnes praised his players for the way they turned the game round after a disappointing start.

‘We didn’t move the ball round quick enough in the first half, which is quite uncharacteristic of us,’ he said.

‘We need to be a bit crisper and move the ball sharper.

‘But by the end, I couldn’t fault their energy levels.

‘We were pressing high up the pitch, winning the ball in midfield and attacking straightaway.

‘We just needed one of those late chances to go in.’