Fareham get first win as they see off University of Birmingham

Fareham's Josh Godfrey
Fareham's Josh Godfrey
Matt Cox scored for Havant. Picture: Keith Woodland

Havant give leaders Exeter a big scare

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Ben Barnes praised the character of his side after Fareham came from two goals down to beat the University of Birmingham 4-3 on Sunday.

It was Fareham’s first victory of the National League conference west season – and the first time they have beaten Birmingham away from home under Barnes’ tenure.

The visitors had a nightmare start, conceding twice in the opening five minutes, but they turned the game on its head to go 3-2 up at half-time.

They were then pegged back in the second half but Josh Godfrey grabbed the winner six minutes from time.

Fareham’s performance director, Barnes, said: ‘There’s a great deal of relief at our first win.

‘I’m really pleased for the players because they deserved it.

‘It was a very entertaining game, especially for anyone watching.

‘It was a huge show of character and our ability to stay in the game.

‘At 2-0 down a team can go either way, but it’s not in our character to give up.

‘You could see there was much greater resolve this week.

‘It shows the quality we have that we can go to second in the league away from home and win.’

It was a disastrous start for the visitors, though, as they conceded from a penalty stroke after just two minutes.

Rob Wilson then lost possession two minutes later and Birmingham’s Tom Poustie ran into the circle and smashed it in.

This left Fareham with a mountain to climb, especially away from home, but they kept their heads and reacted well to the setback.

They pressurised the home defence into mistakes and were rewarded in the 16th minute when Jamie Rawlings scored straight from a penalty corner.

Mo Rahman then took advantage of a poor clearance with a strong finish into the bottom corner of the net to make it 2-2 and get the fightback going.

Less than a minute later Fareham took the lead thanks to an excellent team goal.

Chris Davey made a diving interception, then Gurmukh Bhamra and Rahman combined, with the latter making a superb defence-splitting pass to Hibberd, who finished off the move with a cracking reverse-stick shot.

Fareham certainly finished the stronger and even had two chances cleared off the line before half-time.

But another momentum shift immediately after the restart saw Birmingham hit back after 57 minutes.

With everything to play for, the hosts pushed forward, leaving the defence exposed and Fareham capitalised to get the winning goal.

Ed Carson produced an excellent aerial pass to Godfrey.

He then left the last defender in his wake, drew the goalkeeper out and then calmly slotted the ball through the keeper’s legs to complete a memorable success.