Havant hopes suffer major blow

Havant goalscorer Connor McLaughlin Picture: Mick Young
Havant goalscorer Connor McLaughlin Picture: Mick Young
Matt Cox scored for Havant. Picture: Keith Woodland

Havant give leaders Exeter a big scare

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Havant’s torrid run of form continued after they slumped to a fourth straight loss in a 4-1 battering at Cardiff, which effectively ends their hopes of mounting a Men’s Conference West promotion challenge.

Merijn van Willigen’s side were attempting to stem the flow of three defeats after going down to Guildford, Bromley & Beckenham (Knockout Cup) and Exeter University in their previous outings.

But despite Connor McLaughlan’s opener inside 10 minutes, giving Havant a huge boost, their half-time lead evaporated after the break as the Welsh club underlined their own title credentials with a four-goal barrage.

While Van Willigen preferred to concentrate on the positives, it’s hard to escape the fact that Havant are now languishing down in sixth place in the table and eight points behind leaders Team Bath – a team they face this weekend.

‘The boys will be disappointed with the fact that a game – which was initially tight and well-contested -–eventually ran away from them,’ said Van Willigen.

‘They will feel that, in the end, Cardiff were worth their three points. But the 4-1 scoreline does not do justice to the effort and initial lead.’

The game certainly started positively for Havant as McLaughlan’s rasping reverse-stick strike gave his side the lead, following a great crossfield pass from Chris Smith.

And it might have been 2-0 moments later when Martin Gough failed to make the most of a one-on-one chance after he stole possession from the last defender.

Goalkeeper Ben Cowling kept his side ahead before the interval with some important saves.

But once Rupert Shipperley netted the equaliser in early in the second period, Cardiff never looked back and ran out worthy winners.

Jimmy Devney, Shipperley’s second and a Liam Brignull effort sealed the points.

The result leaves Havant requiring a serious improvement in form if they are to climb back into the mix.