Havant have promotion in own hands

Havant celebrate after a goal by James Speke. 'Picture: Mick Young
Havant celebrate after a goal by James Speke. 'Picture: Mick Young
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Havant’s promotion hopes lie in their own hands according to their skipper Raj Laly.

The South League premier division one side beat Oxford University 1-0 on Saturday and had the added bonus of seeing their main rivals, Sevenoaks and Old Georgians, draw 3-3.

James Speke scored an early winner, which puts Havant two points behind Sevenoaks and four behind leaders Old Georgians, who have played one game more.

Laly believes his side are now in the driving seat for the title.

‘We had to win and we knew Old Georgians and Sevenoaks were playing each other,’ said Laly.

‘The result we wanted to put things in our control, was for them to draw and that’s exactly what happened.

‘If we win the rest of our games, we can win the league.

‘Now it’s in our own hands because we will be playing both those sides at home and we will have Sandeep Singh back for those games aswell.

‘James Lester was definitely the man of the match. He had a fantastic game.

‘He’s a very good player and on his day he’s as good a left half as any player in the league.’

Maciej Janiszewski created Havant’s opening goal in the 10th minute with a good run down the left hand side of the circle and his reverse cross in front of the keeper was deflected into the goal by the diving Speke.

The second half was a story of missed chances as the hosts created enough goal-scoring opportunities to kill off the game but could not convert any of them.

Within a minute of the restart the ever lively Janiszewski set up Mike Deller-Merricks, but his shot went wide of the goal.

Five minutes later Speke also went close with a reverse-stick shot.

Oxford were still a threat on the counter-attack though.

In the 42nd minute, they forced a great save from Ben Cowling in the Havant goal, and the ball was cleared off the line by Laly.

Two minutes later Tom Murtagh won the home side a penalty corner which was deflected wide of the post.

The best chance of the half also fell to Murtagh.

James Lester won the ball in Havant’s half and beat the last defender.

Lester and Murtagh were two-on-one with the Oxford keeper but unfortuanately, Murtagh’s shot hit the post.

Laurie Bowden and Janiszewski also had further shots on goal that went wide.

Laly said: ‘We created a lot of opportunities but we just weren’t scoring them.

‘It was a professional performance though.

‘It was nice to get a clean sheet, which is what we needed after the close encounter with London Wayfarers last week.

Sandeep Singh scored a hat-trick in Jaypee Punjab Warriors’ 7-0 win over Delhi Waveriders in the Hockey India League and will play in the semi-final against Ranchi Rays today

Havant thrashed Trinity Midwhitgiftians 14-1 in the Mercian Regional Under-14s league.

Ossie Tate and George Whelan both scored hat-tricks and were joined on the scoresheet by Matt Cottrell and Rhydian Walsh, both with two.

Also on target were Nick Walters, Ed Roberts, Louis Wrenn and an own goal.

Finlay Sandy was handed the man-of-the-match award.