Havant coach Knight in positive mood despite late blow

Dave Sweeney was unfortunate to see his kick charged down and bounce in Wimbledon's favour. Picture: Sarah Standing (142799-13)
Dave Sweeney was unfortunate to see his kick charged down and bounce in Wimbledon's favour. Picture: Sarah Standing (142799-13)
Luke Barfoot will make his 100th league appearance. Picture: Neil Marshall

Havant hope normal service will resume at home

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Havant suffered last-minute heartbreak as a charged-down kick allowed Wimbledon to force a 29-29 London one south draw at Hooks Lane.

The home side looked set to inflict a defeat on the high-flying visitors but it wasn’t to be.

In the final play of the game, the ball went loose over the home goal-line from Dave Sweeney’s charged down kick and the Wimbledon prop pounced for the try.

It would have been even more rough justice if the conversion had gone over from close to the touchline.

Fortunately for the home side they were spared that.

But Havant were still hugely disappointed not to pick up their first win at home this season.

‘It was cruel,’ said Havant coach Will Knight.

‘To be denied the win in that fashion was desperate, with the luck of the bounce falling their way.

‘However, it was another hugely encouraging performance from us.

‘I felt we played the better rugby and held the dominance in the scrums.

‘In recent weeks we have got to within a point of the top side and now drawn with the second-placed team.

‘We are slowly showing where we should be and how good we can be.

‘Now all we need to do is put together a few results to reflect our performances.’

Havant were forced to make a late change when the experienced Steve Cruddas cried off with flu in the morning.

Mike Brook switched to open-side wing-forward, with Harrison Young drafted into the second row.

Brook responded by producing a man-of-the-match performance for Havant.

The home side started strongly and took the lead midway through the first half with a Dave Sweeney try.

Joel Knight added the conversion before Wimbledon hit back to lead through a converted try and a penalty.

Havant showed their resilience when they didn’t ship any points in the 10 minutes Sam Cooksley spent in the sin-bin.

It was then Havant who struck again just before the break, through veteran centre Grant Morris, with Knight again adding the conversion.

Another try at the start of the second half by number eight Loz Warren-West and a Knight penalty saw Havant stretch into a 22-10 lead.

But Wimbledon roared back to lead 24-22, before quick thinking from scrum-half Jake Reynolds, who took a tapped penalty, lifted Havant.

The ball was moved to Sweeney who teed up Knight to go over the line.

That looked set to be enough for Havant until Wimbledon had the final say to draw level.

Coach Knight added: ‘It was a corker of a game for the neutral because the lead kept changing hands.

‘We knew Wimbledon would throw everything at us in the closing stages but looked like hanging on.

‘Our players were so hard on themselves when we didn’t hold out.

‘That shows just how far we have come.’