A LACKLUSTRE Fareham were made to pay for poor finishing as they lost 2-1 at home to Clifton Robinsons, who earned their first league win of the season in National League men’s conference west.
Fareham were on top for large periods of the game but struggled to find an end product.
The away side defended deep and looked to counter with aerial breakaways.
Coach Ben Barnes felt his Fareham side made it quite easy for Clifton to execute their tactics.
He said: ‘We lacked patience which played into their hands as they sat deep and defended in numbers.
‘It was a game where we needed to score first to get Clifton to come out and attack.
‘If we had scored in the first half, it would have been a different story, but their game plan worked.’
Clifton’s plan snuffed out any potential clear-cut chances throughout the first period.
In the second-half, Fareham lifted their intensity but left holes at the back, as aerials over the top of their defence left them exposed.
Clifton pounced on two such attacks to go 2-0 up through Matthew Plimmer and Tom Jarvie.
Fareham gained a lifeline through a penalty stroke conversion from Jamie Rawlings seven minutes from time.
It was the defender’s sixth goal of the season.
But Clifton managed to withstand the pressure and seal victory to the jubilation of the travelling fans.
Fareham travel to Olton and then Birmingham for their next two matches, before entertaining Olton in the return fixture on November 26.
Meanwhile, Fareham Ladies made it three wins on the bounce as they beat mid-table rivals Horsham 3-2 at Henry Cort on Saturday.
An excellent goal-line save from Sian Edwards kept the scores level as Horsham threatened to net early on.
However, Fareham grew into the match and opened the scoring on 12 minutes as Vicky Field deflected home Sam Mitchell’s pass.
With a foothold in the game, Laura Ryan then doubled the lead on 20 minutes.
Horsham pulled one back when Philippa Harris slotted home.
However, Fareham restored their two-goal advantage on 61 minutes after some composed play out of the back got the ball to Ryan on the right wing who left the Horsham defence in her wake and crossed for Sophie Raymond who produced a tidy finish.
Horsham set up a tense final five minutes when Alicia Renfrey netted but Fareham held firm.
Coach Steve Lemon praised his team for getting an important victory.
He said: ‘We played some of our best hockey, especially in the first half.
‘We fought hard and secured another three points which is so important in the lead up to Christmas.’
Report by Tom Seebold