Pickett atones in Havant recovery

Havant Ladies' Amanda Hilsdon
Havant Ladies' Amanda Hilsdon
Laura Ryan in control for Fareham Ladies against Aldershot & Farnham. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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Merijn van Willigen reserved special praise for John Pickett after he atoned for his error to play a crucial role in Havant’s 5-2 win over Cheltenham in the Men’s Conference West.

Following last week’s 2-0 defeat to Bath Buccaneers, Havant responded well to finding themselves 2-1 down after Chris Smith had fired his side ahead.

Chris Ridings grabbed a fortuitous leveller, before Pickett gifted possession to James Asteley to put the visitors ahead.

But Picket showed his character and made amends shortly before the break as he despatched an accurate drag flick from a penalty corner.

And that provided the platform for an impressive second-half display as goals from Martin Gough, James Speke and Pol Soms Irazola sealed victory for Havant.

Havant’s director of coaching, van Willigen, said: ‘The way we conceded the goals gave the impression that it might be one of those days.

‘We gifted them two goals. The first one was a sheer fluke and the other one was down to miscommunication and we ended up giving it straight to their forward.

‘We hadn’t done an awful lot wrong and we were 2-1 down so I was a bit worried.

‘But we responded well. To get it back to 2-2 before half-time was crucial, especially for John Pickett, who gave the ball away for their second goal. He did really well for us.

‘It was as important for the team as it was for the individual and it meant we went into half-time a bit more buoyant.

‘But we picked up where we left off and I felt that we were the better side.

‘We had a good spell where we took the game beyond them and then I was particularly pleased with the final 15 minutes where we controlled the game.’

n Havant Ladies made a poor start to their South Club Women’s League division one season as they were thumped 5-0 by Maidenhead.

While Katie Paxman and Amanda Hilsdon impressed for Havant, there was little else to take from the display.

Coach Luke Stone said: ‘It was a disappointing first game. We pressed well and the result was probably not a fair reflection of the game.

‘But we didn’t go out wanting it as much as they did.’