Fareham held their nerve to register a thrilling 5-3 away win over Barford Tigers on Sunday.
Two goals apiece from Daniel Sampey and Ben Hibberd and one from Chris Davey continued their unbeaten run to four games in National League conference west.
Barford started the game the stronger pressurising the Fareham defence and went ahead on 17 minutes thanks to a close-range finish from Sukhvinderjeet Sihotain.
Barford then squandered further chances to extend the league and were made to pay for it before the half was over.
Fareham mounted an attack down the left flank as Chris Boyland sent a ball into the D for Jon Potts to deflect onto the ever-reliable Sampey, who sent a reverse-stick shot past the despairing goalkeeper to make it 1-1 just before the half-time whistle.
Fareham then regrouped and started to assert their presence after the restart, especially after Tigers had a player yellow-carded on the stroke of half-time.
The home side then had another player sidelined for a spell and this turned the game in Fareham’s favour.
Jamie Rawlings’ shot from a penalty corner hit a defender on the line and Hibberd stepped up to convert the penalty stroke to take a 2-1 lead.
Three minutes later, Sampey was on hand to finish off a fine move and extend the lead to 3-1 on 48 minutes.
On 58 minutes Pakistan international Shakeel Abbasi scored from a penalty corner to reduce Fareham’s lead to 3-2, only for Chris Davey to go straight up the other end and restore the two-goal advantage.
Yet Barford refused to give up and scored from the next penalty corner on 61 minutes through Harjinder Sandhu.
In a breathless few minutes, Hibberd secured the 5-3 victory four minutes later, scoring again from close range.
‘The manor of the win was very encouraging,’ said Fareham’s performance director Ben Barnes.
‘Barford were a very different side to the one we faced at the beginning of the season.
‘They put us under a lot of pressure and they probably should have scored the first two goals but we held our nerve.
‘The turning point were the yellow cards. It completely changed the momentum of the game.
‘We held our nerve and they lost theirs.
‘It was a great game for the neutrals and played in a great spirit.
‘It was everything I thought it would be.’
Josh Godfrey was man of the match and was praised for his intelligence and link-up play.
‘He was involved in three of the four goals and when he got on the ball, things happened,’ said Barnes.
Meanwhile Fareham Seconds beat Yateley 7-1 away in Hampshire/Surrey division one on Saturday.
Danny Rawlings, Ben Cooper and Chris Davey all scored twice, with Simon Cardy also netting a goal.
Fareham’s under-12A team remain top and unbeaten in the Hampshire League after a 9-1 win against Havant.
Sam Ratliffe and Finn Coleman, both scored three, while Luke Arnold, Jasper Power and Katie Pakes also netted.