Fareham need reaction in season finale

John Grice. 'Picture: Mick Young
John Grice. 'Picture: Mick Young
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Ben Barnes wants a response to last week’s disappointing defeat as Fareham prepare for their final match of the National League conference west season.

The Henry Cort side produced a poor second-half performance in their 3-2 loss to Guildford last week and will be looking to end the campaign on a high when they travel to Indian Gymkhana on Sunday (2pm).

We can’t just gift them the game, they’ve got to earn it.

Ben Barnes

They comfortably lie fourth in the table with 26 points from 17 games.

The University of Birmingham occupy third position and are five points ahead of Fareham going into the last weekend.

Performance director Barnes has stressed the need to maintain their intensity throughout the 70 minutes, particularly against a side who are threatened with relegation.

Indian Gymkhana are on 16 points and are in a tight battle to avoid the second relegation place, along with the University of Exeter and Barford Tigers.

There are just two points separating the three teams, so whoever gets the worst result this weekend will go into a two-legged play-off with the second-from-bottom club in National League conference east.

Bottom club Whitchurch have already been relegated.

Barnes said: ‘There needs to be a response. Either we let our intensity drop or we stand up to them.

‘It’s our last game of the season and we want to win.

‘We need to make sure our energy levels are good. That’s the thing that’s been letting us down.

‘Guildford certainly had too much of a luxury last Sunday.’

In the reverse fixture in September, Fareham beat Indian Gymkhana 6-2.

But Barnes is expecting a tougher encounter this time round.

‘It’s going to be a very interesting game,’ he said.

‘Indian Gymkhana are going to have to come out for the win.

‘They have to win to guarantee they don’t go into the play-offs.

‘There will be a big crowd there and they’ll be noisy so we’re going to have to stand up to that.

‘I have played in these kind of 
games before and I know how much it means.

‘There will be a lot of pressure on them so hopefully we can manage that and catch them on the break and be clinical in the final third.

‘We can’t just gift them the game, they’ve got to earn it.’

Barnes has made some tough selection decisions in the wake of last weekend’s defeat to Guildford, dropping both Jonathan Potts and Chris Boyland.

‘They were really hard decisions to make, especially with Potts,’ said Barnes.

‘Everyone is available for selection this week, so there will be more tough decisions to make.’

James Seager is back in contention following his broken finger, while Luke Cornish, Jon Grice and Jon Price are all available again.

Meanwhile, Surbiton are the visitors to Henry Cort on Saturday (1.15pm) as they take on Fareham in South Clubs’ Women’s League division three B.

Coach Steve Lemon said: ‘We have proved in the last two weeks that we can mix it with the best in this league and we look forward to hosting third- placed Surbiton this week.’

They narrowly lost a seven-goal thriller 4-3 to league leaders 
Wimbledon 1A last weekend after taking an early lead.