BOGEY side Exeter University ended Fareham’s unbeaten home record with a 5-3 victory.
Two-goal bursts by the visitors at the end of both halves proved the difference between the two sides.
A double from Ben Hibberd and Alex Boxall’s second-half strike were not enough to deliver a return against a side they have failed to beat in a National League fixture.
Fareham were without influential midfielder James Seager due to work commitments, but welcomed back defender Chris Boyland from injury.
The home side made a positive start and went close when Hibberd’s shot crashed against the bar.
Fareham made the breakthrough after six minutes when Hibberd converted a penalty corner.
But the students then took control of the game dominating possession, but were unable to break down the well-organised Fareham defence, marshalled by Robin Jones.
The equaliser came when Fareham gifted Exeter possession in their own circle enabling Oliver Clarke to strike.
Two quick-fire goals from open play from Nick Cooper and Matthew Richards just before the interval then gave the visitors a clear advantage.
Fareham regrouped at half-time with tactical changes made by coach Ben Barnes and came out strongly after the interval.
Luke Cornish raced clear early in the second period and rounded the keeper, who cynically fouled the young striker. The Exeter keeper was sent to the sin-bin and Hibberd converted the penalty stroke to reduce the arrears.
Fareham should have been able to capitalise on the advantage of playing against a side down to 10 men and with no goalkeeper, but Exeter reorganised their defensive formation and Fareham could not break them down during the five minute suspension period.
But they drew level after 52 minutes from a penalty corner when Hibberd cleverly found Boxall at the far post for a simple finish.
The momentum should have been with Fareham but it was the visitors who finished stronger and got the win.
Fareham coach Ben Barnes was disappointed after the game.
He said: ‘Exeter punished our unforced errors with goals.
‘The response at half-time was excellent. We had just shifted momentum through drawing level but were undone by a speculative aerial pass from their defence.
‘We were in the game for large parts of it, but poor concentration and ill discipline let us down.’
Fareham seconds fell to a 4-3 loss at Epsom in regional division one. Nic Cope converted a penalty stroke before Epsom smashed in four unanswered goals. Two late Ben Cooper efforts from short corners made the scoreline respectable.
Fareham thirds were defeated 5-0 by Blandford and Sturminster while the fifth string got a 2-2 draw against Aldershot and Farnham through Tim Tavender and Pete Gwynn goals.
Mark Palmer, Oli Nichols and Connor Scott all scored for Fareham’s sixth string in their 3-3 draw with Petersfield firsts.
Fareham’s nines got a great 5-0 win over Poole with the ladies’ first team winning 5-1 against New Milton.
The ladies’ second string defeated Southampton Ladies 4-0. Ellie Price (2), Jaz Lycett and Lydia Jackson did the damage.
Fareham Ladies thirds smashed Southampton University Ladies 7-0 with Holly Parish bagging a hat-trick.