Barnes: Late goal nothing more than Exeter deserved

Chris Davey Picture: Neil Marshall
Chris Davey Picture: Neil Marshall
Matt Cox scored for Havant. Picture: Keith Woodland

Havant give leaders Exeter a big scare

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Ben Barnes felt Fareham’s 2-2 draw with Exeter University on Sunday was a fair result.

The hosts led 2-1 at half-time but conceded a last-minute equaliser in their final game in National League conference west before the two-month winter break.

The university side took a sixth-minute lead after being awarded a controversial penalty stroke, which was converted by Tom Whitworth.

But Fareham hit back in spectacular fashion thanks to a wonder goal from Chris Davey.

The ball deflected into the D well over Davey’s head but the 23-year-old took it over his left shoulder and volleyed it into the top corner for a stunningly improvised goal.

Gurmukh Bhamra’s determined run from midfield set up James Seager for a chance but his effort went wide.

But Rob Moore’s calm finish on the stroke of half-time put Fareham 2-1 up.

The hosts began the second half well but couldn’t find the third goal they needed.

Goalkeeper George Harris produced a man-of-the-match performance with some outstanding saves to deny Exeter on several occasions.

However, Mark Loughrey finally broke the home side’s resolve with Exeter’s second goal late on.

Performance director Barnes said: ‘The nature of letting in a goal so late is always going to be disappointing because you feel like you’ve lost.

‘The guys are feeling really down after coming so close to winning.

‘But when you step back from it, with the two or three fantastic saves that George Harris made, it was kind of coming.

‘It was nothing more than Exeter deserved in the last 15 minutes.

‘We stopped playing a little bit and were a bit guilty of letting them come at us.’

Barnes singled out the performances of Davey, Bhamra and Harris.

Speaking about Davey’s goal, he said: ‘I’ve never seen a goal like that before. He’ll be smiling about that for the next week.

‘George made some absolutely world-class saves. He had no right to save some but he just gets there, it’s absolutely fantastic. He belies his age, he’s like Peter Pan.

‘Gurmukh’s been playing really well for the last three or four weeks. He’s very strong at carrying the ball and is growing in confidence.’

Fareham finish the first half of the season with 15 points and level with Exeter in sixth place.