Gutsy Fareham see off rivals

Fareham's Jonathan Potts, right, avoids the flying challenge of Chichester's Jack Lerwill Picture: Paul Jacobs
Fareham's Jonathan Potts, right, avoids the flying challenge of Chichester's Jack Lerwill Picture: Paul Jacobs
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Ben Barnes was delighted with another stirring comeback victory after Fareham edged out Chichester in a 5-4 thriller.

The home side came from behind three times at Henry Cort College to record back-to-back wins in National League conference west.

There were only two goals in the first period, with James Seager cancelling out the visitors’ opener, and then a flurry of seven within 35 minutes.

Joining Seager on the Fareham scoresheet were Nathan Palmer, Mo Rahman, Ben Hibberd and Ed Carson.

After recording their first victory against the University of Birmingham last week, Saturday’s win moves Barnes’ side up to seventh in the league table.

The club’s performance director was full of praise for his players’ gutsy performance to keep coming back against their rivals.

‘To be behind three times and still come out winning is a real compliment for the whole squad,’ said Barnes.

‘We didn’t let the frustration of being behind get to us.

‘As soon as Chichester scored, we were always on the front foot.

‘They didn’t hold the lead for too long and we were able to get back into the game quickly.

‘I give it 10 out of 10 for entertainment. Seven goals in 35 minutes is ridiculous.

‘It was played in the right spirit and both sets of players should be very proud of their performance.’

It certainly made for captivating viewing for spectators, with the lead changing hands constantly.

The game began slowly, with Seager’s penalty stroke on 26th minutes cancelling out Chichester’s opener after 14 minutes through Jack Lerwill.

Then, after the break, the game really caught fire.

Martin Gough gave the visitors the lead again after a swift counter-attack, but Fareham equalised in the 45th minute from Palmer’s penalty corner.

Less than five minutes later and Fareham trailed for the third time in the game when Matt Cox made it 3-2.

But the home side immediately went on the offensive and got back on level terms when Rahman scrambled the ball over the line.

And that was the moment when Barnes’ side turned the screw.

A penalty stroke by Ben Hibberd in the 51st minute put his side in front for the first time in the match, and then a fine team goal just before the hour mark gave the club a well-deserved two-goal cushion.

Good link-up play between Rahman and Palmer led to Danny Rawlings passing it across the face of goal for Carson to tap in the fifth at the far post.

Chichester kept coming back, though, and grabbed a fourth goal with less than five minutes remaining – the goal of the game according to Barnes.

A defence-splitting pass down the middle of the pitch was met by Thomas McCarthy.

He then dived full stretch and slid the ball under George Harris on his reverse stick to bring to a close a breathless encounter.

Barnes praised Chichester’s Polish international goalkeeper, Macieja Pacanowskiego, for his multiple saves.

The three points were especially welcome to Barnes, given he was up against his hometown club.

He said: ‘I was relieved because in many respects I wanted to win this match even more.’