Fareham let two-goal lead slip at Cheltenham

Danny Rawlins
Danny Rawlins
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Ben Barnes bemoaned Fareham’s lack of finishing after they let a two-goal lead slip to lose 3-2 against Cheltenham.

Fareham were two goals up inside the opening half hour of their National League conference west encounter, but a combination of poor finishing and defensive mistakes saw them concede three times.

Fareham were missing Rob Wilson, Alex Boxall, Dan Hibberd and James Seager, so the midfield was made up largely of teenagers, such as Luke Cornish and Danny Rawlins.

The head coach was disappointed his side didn’t make the most of their chances but he was encouraged all the same by their attacking play, especially in the first half.

Barnes said: ‘Even though we still played well to go 2-0 up, we lost our way a little bit.

‘We were pushing for the third goal. We lacked a bit of patience and it allowed Cheltenham to turn the ball over a bit too regularly, which got them back into the game.

‘At half-time we talked about maintaining a bit more possession and playing wider, which we did at time, but not often enough.

‘We had more chances against Cheltenham than we did against Guildford, where we won 4-1, but we didn’t take them this time.

‘There were some encouraging signs, though.’

Speaking about the chances Fareham had, Barnes said: ‘We had one shot flash across goal that looked like it was going to go in.

‘We could have had a penalty flick as well. The ball was stopped on the Cheltenham line by someone’s body but the umpire thought the goalkeeper could have got to it.

‘But it was a marginal one and the decision could have gone either way.

‘We didn’t cash in on our chances.’

Fareham could have been 1-0 up early on but John Potts’ effort was deflected agonisingly wide of the far post.

The Cheltenham goalkeeper also made a great save from a Rawlins flick that would have gone in had it been a bit higher.

Youngster Callum McNally also fired into the side-netting.

New signing Daniel Sampey, who was still jetlagged from his flight from Australia, scored the opening goal after 20 minutes with a nice reverse-stick shot.

Rawlins finished off a good passing move with a first-time shot into the goal to make it 2-0 two minutes later.

Fareham continued to create good chances and tried to extend their lead, but in doing so they gave away needless possession and, just before half-time, William Millar latched onto a defensive lapse to make it 2-1.

This continued to be the pattern in the second half and Cheltenham took advantage to equalise on 42 minutes through Sam Carter.

James Astley netted the winner 12 minutes from time to complete a disappointing day for the visitors.

Barnes added: ‘Two of their goals came from unfortunate mistakes.’

He also said the pitch was one of the most slippery he had encountered in the league.

‘It’s probably the worst in the league,’ he added.