Havant remain upbeat despite defeat

Havant's James Lester Picture: Mick Young
Havant's James Lester Picture: Mick Young
Matt Cox scored for Havant. Picture: Keith Woodland

Havant give leaders Exeter a big scare

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Havant coach Ady Adams remains confident his side can bounce back from their last-minute 4-3 defeat to Banbury.

The result means the Barncroft Way side slip to second in the South League premier division one table ahead of the crunch clash with Old Georgians.

The visitors had plenty of chances to see off the game but were not clinical enough in front of goal.

On the plus side, new signing, Akhtar Ali, scored twice on his debut despite his fractured hand not being fully healed.

Ollie Nail completed his first match from injury and scored a penalty stroke.

Adams said: ‘It’s a big blow for us but it’s about how we bounce back now.

‘We’ve got a mountain to climb but we’re confident we can still do it.

‘It’s such a topsy-turvy league, it only needs one more slip-up from Old Georgians to open the race again.’

Havant took the lead when Maciej Janiszewski squared the ball to Ali, who calmly slotted it home.

The score remained 1-0 at the break but Banbury came back to take a 2-1 lead early in the second half.

A number of early chances for Havant were not converted and on 45 minutes the hosts equalised from a penalty corner after Chris Smith received a green card for a tackle.

The home side then took advantage of the extra player to quickly score a second.

But Havant soon made it 2-2, with some good work by James Lester and Mike Deller-Merricks giving Ali his second goal of the game.

Banbury came back once again to make it 3-2 from a penalty corner, but this did not affect the Havant team and man-of-the-match Lester went on an inspired run to earn a penalty stroke, which was converted by Nail.

The visitors created a string of chances to win the game but it was Banbury who took the spoils with a well-taken goal late on.

‘We had patches of brilliance but that was equalled by lapses in concentration,’ said Adams.

‘The decision-making in front of goal was poor.

‘If we do the same thing next week, then we’ll be in trouble against Old Georgians.’