HORNDEAN bounced back to winning ways in National League division two south with a crucial 3-2 victory at Team Southampton.
The Deans, whose confidence had plummeted following a spell of bad results, had to dig deep to emerge supreme in a vigorously-contested match.
It was a derby marred by controversy from the start.
The home team refused to share the pre-match warm-up routine at the net with the visitors.
In a bizarre move, Team Southampton players barricaded themselves in the sports hall cupboard as the Deans carried out their paltry five minutes warm-up that was allocated by the referees.
‘I’ve never seen anything like it in the 20 years I’ve been involved in volleyball,’ said Deans captain Stephen Metherell.
‘We did not get the chance to practise our serves before the match and half of the team were still cold during the first set.
‘It was absolutely poor sportsmanship.
‘That’s why it was great to see their fans, who always give us stick, silenced as we walked away with victory.’
Head coach Nasser Ssemuwemba added: ‘We always expect the worst when playing at Southampton.
‘But nobody anticipated this sort of circus.’
The home team took the first set 25-18.
Horndean responded with tight blocks from Marcus Russell and Damian Roberts to claim the second 25-14.
However, Southampton took the third set 26-24.
The Deans then won the fourth 25-20 to push the game to a decider.
Maciej Kubis’ great back-court display, Haakon Lie’s ferocious attacks and man-of-the-match Leandros Tsikras’ powerful serves helped the Deans to win 15-11.
It was the first time the Deans have beaten their bitter rivals in a division two encounter.
And Russell enjoyed the derby success.
He said: ‘We remained cool despite all the funny games that were going on, did our job and got the result we so much deserved.
‘It’s a credit to the whole team and I must say it’s always sweet to win at Southampton.’
The Deans are back in National League action on Saturday when they lock horns with Solent 2 at Highbury College.