Race for second hots up for Havant

113775-422_HAV_HOCKEY_SR_22/10/11'Asction from Havant HC vs Fareham  in the E H L Conference West at Havant College.'Havant goal scorer Andy Pett.''Picture:Steve Reid 113775-422
113775-422_HAV_HOCKEY_SR_22/10/11'Asction from Havant HC vs Fareham in the E H L Conference West at Havant College.'Havant goal scorer Andy Pett.''Picture:Steve Reid 113775-422
Matt Cox scored for Havant. Picture: Keith Woodland

Havant give leaders Exeter a big scare

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THE RACE for second place in EHL Men’s Conference West looks set to go down to the wire.

Havant stayed there on goal difference after a 1-1 draw at home to close-rivals Guildford.

But with their weekend opponents and University of Birmingham all joining them on 27 points – and Cardiff just three points behind – it’s a tight battle to finish as runner-up.

One position that is done and dusted, though, is the title as Team Bath Buccaneers wrapped up first place with a 3-0 success over Fareham.

The Henry Cort-based outfit are still well clear of the drop zone, however, as they enjoy a brighter season after last term’s last-gasp escape from the drop.

Havant started the brighter of the two teams in their match with Guildford and produced the first good chance after Mo Lester fed Craig Duffy in the circle, where his cross went into a melee of players in front of goal.

A Havant stick sent the ball goalbound but ex-England and Great Britain keeper Simon Mason got his 6ft 5in frame in the right position and deflected the ball past the post with an out-stretched foot.

The hosts weren’t to be denied for long, though, when on 11 minutes, Pol Irazola’s flick hit a defender on the line and a penalty stroke was awarded.

Andy Pett stepped up and coolly placed the ball into the corner of the goal as Mason dived the other way.

But Guildford drew level just before the half-hour mark after Charlie Stubbings made a clumsy challenge outside the circle.

A penalty corner was awarded and Ali Falconer made no mistake from the top of the circle with a low slap to Isaacs’ left.

Havant’s keeper produced heroics after the break as he saved two penalty corners.

The hosts then had a chance to win it at the death when one of their attacks was thwarted at the top of the circle by a defender making a sliding tackle.

A penalty corner was awarded, giving the home side one last chance. But after a Guildford protest, the decision was over-ruled, meaning a disappointing end to what was a pretty disappointing match.