Havant taught harsh lesson by Uni boys

Ben Mackey scored Havant's consolation
Ben Mackey scored Havant's consolation
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The performance was just as miserable as the weather as Havant men crashed to a 4-1 defeat at home to the University of Birmingham.

In miserable wet and cold conditions at Havant College on Sunday, the hosts were desperate to arrest a slide which had seen them take just one point from their past six matches going into the clash.

But while the scoreline may have been harsh, Havant were made to pay for not taking a host of early chances and losing their discipline.

The loss kept Havant sixth in England Hockey League men’s conference west, although their worrying form means they are now looking over their shoulder at the teams below them.

From the first whistle, Birmingham started the stronger of the two teams and were rewarded for their early pressure when Charlie Hayward converted a field goal after some poor marking.

Havant were denied an equaliser after winning a penalty corner in the 12th minute. The shot was blocked by Will Burns, in the Birmingham goal, and rebounded to a Havant forward whose shot at goal was cleared off the line by a defender.

The hosts did level matters on 25 minutes, though, when Ben Mackey tapped in at the far post.

Andy Pett’s strong run down the left wing and circle entry saw him pass the ball across the goal between defenders for Mackey to net.

Five minutes later, Havant had the ball in the net again when Simon Handley deflected the ball past Burns, only to have it disallowed.

A golden chance then fell to the hosts but a weak shot at goal rather than rocketing the ball into the net let Birmingham escape as the score remained 1-1 at half-time.

Immediately after the break, an outstanding save by Burns denied Havant from close range, before the home side failed to net from a goalmouth scramble.

That proved crucial as Birmingham took a 2-1 lead on 46 minutes when Peter Jackson’s low drag flick beat Issacs.

Frustration soon crept into Havant’s game which, ultimately, cost them the match. Captain Andy Richards was yellow carded and Birmingham took advantage of the numerical advantage to net a third before, with four minutes remaining, the away side bagged another to seal victory.

Meanwhile, Fareham men put in a valiant display against conference west leaders University of Exeter but went down 1-0.

That condemned Fareham to their fifth loss on the bounce and left them second from bottom in the table.