Fareham are celebrating their first National League triumph over rivals Havant.
The south coast heavyweights went toe-to-toe at Havant College in Men’s Conference West on Sunday, with the reigning Hampshire Cup champions netting a 6-2 victory.
A hat-trick from Alex Boxall and goals from John Grice, Adam Le Page and Ben Hibberd sealed the emphatic win, reducing efforts from Sattchinan Reddi and Oliver Nail to no more than consolations.
It was particularly disappointing for the home side, given it was their first fixture on the relaid surface at Havant College.
The scores were level until midway through the first period, as promising raids from Fareham’s Boxall and Shaun Baker, and Havant’s Jonathan Pickett amounted to nothing.
The visitors then found a way past the resolute home defending of Jamie Askham, skipper Raj Laly and keeper Andy Isaacs.
Grice was the hero as he finished off a short-corner routine into the bottom corner of the goal to put Fareham in front. England teenager Nail had a great chance to level the scores soon after but his reverse-stick shot sailed over the top.
Havant, buoyed by the arrival of debut-making South African Reddi, kept hunting for a leveller as the break approached.
Determined defending from the Fareham rearguard of Matt Ramsay, James Morris, Chris Boyland, Kent Langridge and John Price kept the home side at bay, though.
With just a single goal separating the clubs at the interval, suddenly the floodgates opened in the second half.
Sixty seconds after the restart and Boxall drove down the left, into the D, beat two defenders and pushed the ball across goal where it was deflected past Isaacs.
And it was not long before Boxall was causing havoc again – this time he added the finishing touch to a superb move at the back post for 3-0.
With Grice in the sin bin after he was shown a green card, Reddi then reduced the arrears – opening his Havant account with a short corner.
But after some heroics from Isaacs, Fareham restored their three-goal lead.
Young talent Luke Cornish drove down the right, pulled the ball back to the top of the D where new signing Le Page slapped the ball home.
Keeper George Harris was in superb form for the visitors, denying both Charlie Stubbings and Bruno Gorrini as Havant searched for a way back into the match.
Nail finally made it 4-2, making amends for his earlier miss when he bundled the ball in.
But Fareham refused to give up and kicked on in their pursuit of a maiden derby success.
Boxall completed his hat-trick with a neat finish before Hibberd sealed the win with a sixth strike.
He took an aerial in his stride, then rounded the keeper and placed the ball into the back of the net.
It capped a fine display by Fareham, who will be looking to build on the win in a double-header at the weekend.
They welcome Exeter University on Saturday and then host Hampstead & Westminister in the league cup on Sunday.
Havant, meanwhile, are still hunting for their first win of the campaign.
And it does not get any easier for the young outfit as they entertain last season’s league champions Team Bath Buccaneers on Saturday.