Barnes lauds high-fliers Fareham

Josh Godfrey scores as Fareham seal another fine win. Picture: Neil MarshallJosh Godfrey scores as Fareham seal another fine win. Picture: Neil Marshall
Josh Godfrey scores as Fareham seal another fine win. Picture: Neil Marshall
Fareham produced another dominant performance at Henry Cort to see off the University of Birmingham 3-1 on Sunday.

The victory ensures that Ben Barnes’ side are so far unbeaten in 2016 and, more significantly, it moves them up to joint second in National League conference west table.

Fareham are now level on 24 points with Bath Bucanneers, who drew 4-4 with Isca.

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The goals came courtesy of James Seager, Rob Moore and Josh Godfrey.

Performance director Barnes said: ‘It was a very accomplished performance. I’m definitely very happy with how we are playing.

‘We’re coming good at the end of the season.

‘We’re playing some really nice hockey when we’ve got the ball and we’re starting to press more.

‘We’ve been tighter defensively, which has given us a better foundation to attack from.’

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Competition for places in the Fareham starting XI is fierce and Barnes had some tough decisions to make.

Rob Moore returned to the squad following the birth of his daughter, as did captain Alex Boxall, who has been out with a long-term injury.

However, John Grice and Danny Rawlings were both left out.

The substitutes’ bench was arguably the strongest it has been this season, with the likes of Moore, Ben Hibberd, Boxall, Tom Larcombe and Godfrey all beginning the match on the sidelines.

Seager opened the scoring from a penalty corner in the 20th minute and it remained 1-0 until half-time.

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For the second goal, Hibberd won the ball on the halfway line and linked up nicely with Moore and Dan Robertson in an excellent incisive counter-attack, with Moore finishing off in the 44th minute.

Fareham hit the post three times during the match, including efforts by Godfrey and a reverse-stick shot from Robertson.

The hosts were well on top, though, and netted a third goal on 64 minutes.

Larcombe won the ball on the left-hand side and he shifted it to Moore.

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The former Great Britain international found Godfrey in the circle, who took the ball round the goalkeeper and calmly passed it into the goal.

Fareham almost kept a clean sheet but conceded a penalty corner three minutes from time, which was converted by Birmingham’s Josh Kelly.

Barnes praised the team spirit and cohesiveness of his side.

He said: ‘We’re using the ball well and everyone is playing their part.

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‘There’s a good team spirit about the group. You can see everyone’s trusting each other and working hard. We’re backing each other up and we’re stifling teams better.

‘I’m blessed to have the squad of players that I’ve got.

‘When you’ve got an ex-England international like John Grice not getting into the side, it shows we’ve got strength in depth.

‘Danny Rawlings also missed out, which is where we need to be if we’re going to competitive.’

Fareham travel to relegation-threatened Guildford on Sunday (1.30pm).