Fareham bid boosted by vital away win
Coach Ben Barnes believes Fareham now have some much-needed momentum as they attempt to avoid relegation.
An impressive 5-2 victory on the road at Cheltenham saw the second-from-bottom Henry Cort side close the gap on the teams directly above them in the Men’s Conference West table.
All sides still have three league games remaining.
But with Fareham recording their first win in five outings, and Isca and Chichester continuing to struggle, Barnes believes his side have received a welcome boost at exactly the right time.
‘This performance has been coming for a number of weeks, as we have been playng well but not quite able to turn this form into a win,’ said Barnes.
‘The result will be a relief and a great boast to the squad’s confidence with three games to go.
‘This win gives us some real momentum for the fight to stay in the league’
Fareham were quick to take control against Cheltenham, but only after the hosts missed a golden chance after three minutes following a penalty corner.
Rob Wilson opened the scoring for the visitors from open play on 10 minutes, before captain Alex Boxall extended their lead moments later from close range following good play from George Davey.
On 13 minutes Fareham then won a penalty corner and Jamie Rawlings stepped up to send a fierce shot low into the corner of the net to make it 3-0.
Matthew Cort pulled one back for Cheltenham after the visitors failed to clear the danger.
But Fareham soon regained their three-goal lead when Danny Rawlings made it 4-1 just before half-time.
Barnes’ side continued to control the game in the second half and increased their lead on 64 minutes when Chris Davey scored from a penalty corner.
Three minutes from the time, Craig Graham scored a consolation goal for Cheltenham.
Barnes added: ‘Their early miss from a penalty corner was the little bit of luck we needed and we quickly took advantage of it and were well worth the 4-1 lead at half-time.
‘I was pleased to see Danny Rawlings score after going close to scoring on a number of occasions recently but not finding the back of the net.
‘The timing of this goal really helped us by maintaining our lead for the second half after they had just clawed one goal back.’
Meanwhile, Fareham ladies slipped to defeat against Southampton at Henry Cort on Saturday.
The visitors were much sharper in the early stages and their high intensity paid off as they took a 2-0 lead within 13 minutes – an advantage they maintained until half-time.
Rebecca Reavell fired home to half the lead two minutes after the break.
However, Sue Merry soon popped up to restore Southampton’s two-goal advantage.
Reavell pulled one back late on, but the visitors clung on to claim victory.