Ben Barnes was encouraged by the performance at Cardiff Met despite Fareham going down 4-2 to the National League conference west leaders.
Fareham were rocked by a couple of enforced team changes just hours before the match.
Rob Moore had to pull out due to a family emergency, and Jon Price pulled a hamstring in the warm-up.
Despite the setback, performance director Barnes was pleased with what he saw.
He said: ‘We were a lot braver than the scoreline suggests. With Rob Moore and Jon Price not being available to play, the other guys really stepped up.
‘It was one of the games where they had to stand up and be counted – and they did that.
‘We played with greater patience and that was a real positive.’
Cardiff established a two-goal lead with half an hour gone, but Josh Godfrey pulled a goal back for Fareham just before the break.
The unbeaten hosts regained their two-goal cushion in the second half with a breakaway goal and were then awarded a penalty stroke which enabled them to take a 4-1 lead.
Danny Rawlings then deflected in a late penalty corner rebound to make the final score 4-2.
Barnes picked out Ed Carson as his man of the match but he also highlighted the performance of Gurmukh Bhamra.
Elsewhere, Nick Knight and Ben Cooper both scored as Fareham 2s were defeated 4-2 by Bournemouth in Hampshire division one.