Crucial league wins for Fareham and Havant

Tom Murtagh in action for Havant IIs against Old Cranleighans. Picture: Mick Young
Tom Murtagh in action for Havant IIs against Old Cranleighans. Picture: Mick Young
Matt Cox scored for Havant. Picture: Keith Woodland

Havant unable to halt Olton counter charge

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Havant’s men climbed into third place and Fareham restarted their season in style – as both sides registered EHL Conference West victories.

Fareham entertained fellow mid-table side Whitchurch at Henry Cort College.

And they made it three wins from four with a 6-4 success in a thrilling encounter.

The fuse was lit with a goal at either end in the opening four minutes.

Adam Barker put the visitors ahead with a cross-shot which soared past George Harris and into the Fareham net.

Fareham’s response was immediate – Shaun Baker finishing off a slick left-flank move.

Richard Jenkins was the architect behind the 15th-minute strike by Kent Langridge that gave Fareham the lead.

And with four minutes of an absorbing first half remaining, Ben Hibberd beat the advancing Iwan Williams to give Fareham a 3-1 lead.

Whitchurch’s Joe Naughalty lashed home a rebound to make it 3-2, meaning the next goal would be crucial.

Fareham got it through Peel, who completed a well-worked move to make it 4-2 and then added a fifth after some fine set-up play by Langridge.

Whitchurch refused to lie down, with Naughalty cleverly lobbing the on-coming Harris to throw the Cardiff visitors a lifeline.

John Grice added a Fareham sixth, but Naughalty clawed the deficit back to 6-4 in the final minute.

Havant, meanwhile, travelled to take on struggling Lichfield.

And having not won since November, it was a crucial encounter for the team.

A battling performance saw them record a 2-1 triumph and climb up to third in the table.

The result leaves Havant 11 points adrift of top spot – and just three points ahead of sixth-placed Fareham.