relegation strugglers Hayling United showed they have no intention of going down without a fight as they secured a 1-0 victory over Blackfield & Langley.
The three points kept alive United’s faint hopes of continuing to stage Wessex League premier division football at the College Ground next season.
And Lee Paul’s Humbugs deserve to survive after a display that made Louis Bell’s ambitious Blackfield look very ordinary.
Arguably, the visitors should have been three goals ahead before Hayling snatched the lead.
Former Fareham striker Floyd Hamodu fired wide after rounding keeper Steve May and the manager’s son, Louis Bell, somehow managed to strike both bar and post from the edge of the area.
Former Pompey youngster Matt Hartmann was causing Hayling problems with his pacy runs along the line but when he ran out of steam, Blackfield lost impetus.
And Hayling needed just a moment of hesitation from the Blackfield defence to make their mark at the other end.
Jason Clements lifted a superb pass through to striker Rob Tambling, who shrugged off a couple of challenges and beat keeper Jamie Bray.
The second half was delayed by several minutes when the referee and his assistants were locked in their dressing room.
But once the match resumed it was backs to the wall defending by the hosts to preserve their lead.
And keeper Steve May played his part with several quality saves.
‘The lads gave me a real taste of what they are all about and I’m immensely proud to be the manager at this football club,’ said Paul.
‘Whether we stay up or go down doesn’t alter the fact that I intend to be back here next season.
‘In fact, I had a look at our reserve side and have been highly impressed with the talent coming through.
‘Blackfield were a good test for us to prove just how well we can play on our day and, although the points may not be enough to keep us up, the future for this club looks promising in the long term.’
Fareham Town fought out an entertaining 2-2 draw in the heat at Romsey Town.
And the Reds continue their hectic end to the season with their fifth game in eight days, at Hamble ASSC today (3pm).
‘The lads have been brilliant and despite their busy schedule have shown great energy and effort,’ said manager Matt Parr.
Mark Cotton hit a 39th-minute equaliser and, after falling behind a second time in the second half from the penalty spot, Jimmy Cuthbert headed in for 2-2 two minutes from time.
‘Both teams put a lot of effort into it despite the heat and the draw was probably a fair result,’ said Parr.