Fareham left it until the last minute to secure a 2-1 victory at home to ISCA on Saturday.
The Henry Cort side resumed the second half of the season with maximum points thanks to a telling well-worked goal from Chris Davey.
The win moves them up to sixth place in the National League conference west table.
Performance director Ben Barnes said: ‘There was a sense of relief at the end.
‘Chris’ goal came so late and there was a sense of elation because we’d wrapped up the three points and ISCA didn’t have a chance to respond.’
Fareham started the more dominant with several raids into ISCA’s D.
However, the visiting goalkeeper produced a series of fine saves to keep them in the match.
It took three goes to score the opening goal.
First Jamie Rawlings’ shot from a penalty corner came back off the post, then Josh Godfrey’s effort was saved by the keeper before James Seager finally smashed in the next rebound.
However, in the aftermath of the goal, the home side seemed to stop playing for a short spell and that allowed their opponents back in.
In the 17th minute, ISCA made their second attack into the Fareham D from a free hit.
Some poor marking allowed a shot on goal, and when the ball was only half-blocked by keeper George Harris, Sam Lynch pounced on the rebound to level the scores.
Buoyed by their equaliser, the visitors started to press and came more into the game.
As the half drew to a close, they looked more dangerous on the attack.
Shortly after the restart, tempers flared when Ben Hibberd was adjudged to have unfairly tackled a ISCA defender and was given a green card.
Rob Moore was also sent off with a yellow card for dissent, so Fareham had to dig in for five minutes with nine men.
But just when the game looked to be heading for a draw, Nathan Palmer combined with Hibberd down the left flank and he sent in an excellent early reverse-stick cross for Davey to deflect in past the ISAC keeper from three metres and secure victory for the home side.
Barnes felt the win was deserved but admitted his side were guilty of being too passive at times.
‘I felt we played more of the hockey in the second half,’ he said.
‘Even though the goal came late, we had a number of chances and had a great deal of possession. I felt the goal was coming.
‘We were guilty of being too passive in the first half and we stopped playing for about 10-15 minutes and allowed ISCA back in.’
The win puts Fareham level on points with Exeter and just a point behind Indian Gymkhana and University of Birmingham.