Havant ground Hawks to get back on track
Havant rose to sixth place in South League premier division one after a disciplined 2-0 win over Oxford Hawks at Barncroft Way on Saturday.
Adam Seccull and Borja Meissner netted the goals as the hosts halted a run of two successive defeats with a second victory of the season.
Argentina keeper Tomas Santiago produced a string of fine stops at the other end as Ady Adams’ side capped the win with a first clean sheet of the campaign.
Oxford started the stronger and had the early territorial advantage before Havant found their feet.
The home side won the first penalty corner in the sixth minute when an incisive run by James Lester drew a poor tackle in the circle.
The shot was saved but hit a defender – offering Havant a second chance.
But despite beating the keeper with their retake, the drag flick was cleared off the line.
Oxford then went close to breaking the deadlock at the other end but a combination of good saves from Santiago and scrambling defending, ensured the scores remained level.
As the game swung from end to end, Havant were the next to go close.
A third penalty corner, followed by a long corner almost paved the way for Tomek Bruml to lay on the opener.
Bruml, who declared himself fit for the clash despite a hairline fracture in his little finger, fed Seccull but his centre was just out of reach of the Havant forwards as it flashed across the face of goal.
A fourth penalty corner was flicked wide before Havant finally broke the deadlock from the next.
After a neat spin at the top of the D, Seccull flicked the ball into the corner of the Oxford goal.
Santiago had to be alert before the break to deny the Hawks a leveller.
And then on the stroke of half-time, Lester found Mike Deller-Merricks but his shot was saved at full stretch by the keeper.
Santiago was at it again six minutes into the second half.
He produced a superb double save and then a fine deflection as the Hawks turned up the heat on their hosts.
While they were once again slow to get going, Havant soon found their feet and grabbed a second goal.
Jonathan Pickett picked out Lester on the left with a fine aerial and his shot was deflected home by Meissner.
It was a crucial goal. And rocked the visitors, who soon began to lose their shape and discipline.
They continued to look dangerous, though, and Havant needed to scramble the ball to safety in the 49th minute before squandering their sixth penalty corner.
Meissner received a yellow card for a poor tackle before an Oxford player followed him into the dugout.
Havant had further chances to add to their tally, with Tomek and James Speke among those to threaten.
But in the end they had to settle for a two-goal success.
After two wins from their opening four fixtures, Havant are six points adrift of unbeaten leaders Bromley.