Midfielder Charlie Cooper shows his commitment to the Fareham Town cause with dash back from Heathrow Airport to feature in thrilling draw with high-flying Hamworthy

Charlie Cooper made a quick dash back from Heathrow Airport to return to the Fareham Town fold in their thrilling 3-3 Wessex League Premier Division draw with high-flying Hamowrthy at Cams Alders.

By Lewis Mason
Sunday, 19th December 2021, 2:16 pm
Fareham Town's Charlie Cooper. Picture: Allan Hutchings (030421-073)
Fareham Town's Charlie Cooper. Picture: Allan Hutchings (030421-073)

The Reds' midfielder, who had been absent for the more than a month through injury, initially missed a flight home from Ireland and then landed at Heathrow at two o'clock.

But, remarkably, Cooper was able to make the near 72-mile journey to Cams Alders and be used as a 65th-minute substitute by manager Pete Stiles.

Cooper was part of what was a fine comeback from the hosts, who came from 1-0 and 3-1 down to claim a 3-3 draw courtesy of Josh Benfield's effort on 88 minutes.

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Stiles, who used his sixth goalkeeper this season with Luke Douglas featuring in goal, said: ‘It didn’t help with Curt Robbins the day before had to isolate and Charlie Cooper missed his flight back from Ireland and landed at Heathrow at two o’clock, then I got him on for the last 20 minutes.

‘He came straight down and that was good to get him back on because he’s been out for about a month since he got mauled at Brockenhurst. It was good to get him back.

Supporters were saying to me afterwards, even if we’d lost 3-2 it was a great performance against a good side, so to get that equaliser did feel a bit like a win, although at the end of the day, it is two points dropped at home.

‘The performance was very good yesterday, they’re (Hamworthy) a very organised side, big, strong side and we had issues.

‘I had Luke Douglas in goal, he played superbly but he’s got back problems, so ideally I wouldn’t have played him but I had no choice.’

Fareham continued their trend as the Wessex Premier's great entertainers with 123 goals in the club's 22 league fixtures so far - with Stiles' side scoring 71 and conceding 52.

Archie Willcox had headed the Reds back level at 1-1 on 16 minutes, cancelling out Cameron Munn's sixth-minute opener from the spot in front of an impressive crowd of 342 at Cams Alders.

But Fareham were dealt a blow just four minutes before the break when Munn bagged his second to restore fourth-placed Hamworthy's advantage.

Midfielder Ben Rowthorn then crashed a penalty against the crossbar three minutes after the break then Hamworthy looked on course for victory when Drew Eccott-Young made it 3-1 with 20 minutes left.

Back came Fareham, though, with Willcox heading home his second goal three minutes later. Then, with time running out, Benfield struck on 88 minutes as the great entertainers snatched a dramatic point.