Fareham coach Steve Lemon believes his side deserve their place in South Clubs’ Women’s League division three B next season.
The Henry Cort team secured their status in the division with an emphatic 5-1 victory away at bottom club Barnes II on Saturday.
They have earned the right to play in this league next year and we are already looking forward to the challengeSteve Lemon
They finished sixth from bottom in the end with 26 points – but anything other than a win could have been disastrous.
Lemon said: ‘There were three big performances against Lewes, Surbiton and Wimbledon and that left our fate in our own hands.
‘If we only had 23 points, then we would still have been in the relegation mix.
‘I knew we needed to win to guarantee our safety.’
Barnes II, Southampton and Guildford were all relegated from three B, with Hampstead & Westminster III and Sonning demoted from three A.
Lemon added: ‘There was a sense of relief and achievement at staying up because it’s not an easy league to come up to.
‘The girls have been fantastic over the past six weeks.
‘They have earned the right to play in this league next year and we are already looking forward to the challenge.’
After a nervy first 15 minutes, Vicky Field got the ball rolling for Fareham when she fired home from close range.
While the visitors struggled to get into their stride for the rest of the half, they edged further ahead when Emma Jones swept home from an acute angle after the Barnes goalkeeper had done well to save Maggie Kinder’s initial shot.
The second half couldn’t have started any better, though, as Kinder finished off an excellent passing move with just a minute gone.
But Barnes did not lie down and got a goal back just two minutes later to make it 3-1.
Jo Madeley then extended the lead when she fired home from the top of the D on 52 minutes.
And Emily Masson rounded off the scoring with five minutes to go after a good one-two with captain Heidi Podd.
Lemon admitted there were some early nerves but he believes their patience paid off in the end.
‘It was a bit of a nervy encounter early on but once we got the first goal, we settled down,’ he said.
‘It wasn’t a great spectacle to watch and it was a bit messy at times.
‘Credit to Barnes, they didn’t make it easy for us and they battled hard.
‘We just had to be patient and when our chances came along, we took them.’
Lemon added: ‘It was a good result to finish off the season.
‘I’m really pleased with the season as a whole, especially the second half.
‘It was a baptism of fire for the first few games of the season.
‘We had two wins in the first four games and our goal difference was minus 13.
‘Now they’ve got the belief that they deserve to be there.’
Fareham’s second team made club history by getting promoted for the third season in a row after beating Basingstoke 2-1 on Saturday.
Despite losing 1-0 to Havant IV just 24 hours later, they became Hampshire division three champions with one match to go.
A goal in each half secured the three points against Basingstoke, who then scored a late consolation.