Fareham’s 1-0 win over the University of Exeter was a ‘huge’ result, according to performance director Ben Barnes.
Danny Rawlings scored the all-important winner with less than five minutes remaining to seal a third consecutive win for the Henry Cort outfit in National League conference west on Sunday.
The away victory also sees them leapfrog their opponents into sixth in the table.
Barnes said: ‘It was such a huge three points for us, especially having to travel down to Exeter so early on Sunday.
‘The scoreline does not reflect the amount of chances both sides had.
‘It was a very tight game and it could have gone either way, particularly in the second half.’
Fareham had the best of the chances in the first half, with Rob Moore and Ed Carson both working the Exeter goalkeeper.
The match became a lot more open in the second period as both teams went in search of the win.
Carson, Ben Hibberd, Moore and Dan Robertson all came close to breaking the deadlock.
However, Exeter were dangerous on the break and created two or three excellent opportunities.
George Harris had to be on top form to ensure Fareham left the south west with a clean sheet. Rawlings was only called into the side after captain Alex Boxall twisted his ankle in training.
But the Wales under-21 player, who also featured for the second team a day earlier, stepped up to the plate to score the winner in the 66th minute.
Robertson and Moore linked up well on the right and it was the former who lifted the ball into the circle.
Rawlings controlled it in the air and volleyed it in for a superb, match-winning finish.
Fareham have recovered from a slow start to the season and now seem to have turned a corner.
Barnes said: ‘The players have come back rejuvenated after the one-week break, especially with Dan Robertson coming in.
‘It was our third win in a row and now we’ve got to make sure we maintain that momentum.
‘The biggest thing to have changed is the composure in and around the final third.
‘We’re more patient now and are making better decisions.’
Overseas player Robertson made his debut in the match and has already made quite an impression on Barnes.
‘Dan is a very good player, as you would expect from an Australian under-21 international,’ he said.
‘His energy levels, his passing and his pace puts a lot of pressure on defenders.
‘He’s very direct and he wants the ball all the time.
‘His desire for the ball was excellent and he gives the defenders an outlet to pass to.’