Costly first half hits Fareham hard

James Seager

James Seager

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One-time Havant hit-man Tim Davenport scored four times as Team Bath Buccaneers shielded a gallant second-half Fareham comeback to seal a 7-5 National League conference west win.

Davenport scored two goals in each half to send Fareham spinning to a second consecutive defeat against student opposition.

Fareham were reeling in the first half as Bath built on two goals in the opening 18 minutes to turn round 5-1 up at the break.

‘We weren’t at the races in the first half,’ conceded first-team coach Ben Barnes.

Ed Horler and Matt Ruxton got those early goals for Bath, who stretched their lead courtesy of a disputed third strike by Will Seward.

Teenager Jamie Rawlings tidied up a 25th-minute penalty-corner routine – pouncing on a rebound from Alex Boxall’s shot – to put Fareham back in the game.

But two Davenport goals – the second a rasping penalty corner strike into the roof of the net – effectively ended any slim hopes Fareham had of mounting a challenge for victory.

Buccaneers old boy Rob Wilson scored Fareham’s second 30 seconds after the restart, but the visitors’ joy was short-lived as Davenport completed his hat-trick three minutes later.

Fareham threw everything forward in a desperate bid to cut the deficit, with James Seager converting a penalty stroke, and then Shaun Baker cutting Bath’s lead to 6-4 as they rallied bravely.

But a hugely entertaining game produced two more goals – and more drama – before the final whistle.

Davenport made it 7-4 from a penalty awarded when Baker stopped a goal-bound shot on the line and - soon after Buccaneers goalkeeper Tom Skinner had made a brilliant save – Seager scored a with a second penalty stroke for Fareham’s fifth.

Bath, meanwhile, finished the match with nine players on the pitch.

Elsewhere, Fareham II enjoyed a 5-1 success at Reigate Priory as the deadly duo of Ben Cooper (3) and Alex Baxter (2) did the damage.

Goals from Steve Smith (2), Simon Tavender and Archie Day helped Fareham V record a clinical 4-1 win over Chichester III.

– MIKE VIMPANY

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