HAVANT produced one of their best performances of the season so far as they went close to shocking leaders University of Exeter.
The Men’s Conference West contest was a really good battle in Devon.
Havant were narrowly beaten 3-2 but did not give up until the final whistle and it seemed like the victory could go to either team.
The game did not start well when Sam Hooper scored on four minutes to give hosts Exeter the lead.
A break down the left led to a penalty corner for Exeter on their first attack, Cooper flicking low and hard to Chris Bristow’s right where he was unable to keep out the flick.
Maciej Janiszewski won Havant’s first penalty corner, attacking down the left.
A well-worked routine led to Matt Cox converting to bring the scores level after 15 minutes.
Exeter then took the lead again in the 43rd minute.
A well-taken reverse stick shot from Edward Matts was fired in, which Bristow could do nothing about.
Havant increased the tempo again with Craig Duffy and Mike Deller-Merricks exchanging passes to win a second penalty corner.
The execution was not great with the injection off target but Matt Cox retrieved the ball and fed Mike Deller-Merricks, wide on the right, who rifled in a cross in front of the Exeter goal where Janiszewski deflected the ball into the net in the 47th minute.
Exeter then took the lead in the 50th minute with a great finish with forward Tom Watson, lifting the ball and smashing in a great volley.
Duncan Marsh then worked a great opening for Jack Stubbings but his reverse stick shot was deflected wide by the Exeter goalkeeper.
Sam Hatherley and man-of-the-match Cox linked well in Havant’s midfield but they could not find a team-mate in space and Exeter cleared.
Havant kept the pressure on and were unfortunate not to get anything.
Meanwhile, Havant Ladies lost 2-1 to PHC Chiswick.
It was some quick breaks which helped Chiswick take a 2-0 lead.
After half-time Havant Ladies came out fighting in a bid to get back into the match.
They were finally rewarded with a nice goal from Georgia Golding but could not find the equaliser.
In the Hampshire Cup Havant Ladies bounced back on Sunday as they beat Haslemere first team away.
Sue Robinson scored early on but the home side equalised.
Havant gradually gained a bit more control and made a clear attack which saw Haslemere’s goalie take out Cat Evans who was rightly awarded a flick to make it 2-1.
Feeling confident, though, the visitors lost their focus and Haslemere equalised before half-time.
But after the break Havant were able to keep better control of the match.
From a short corner they opted for a right slip option which saw Rae Allen net with a shot through the keeper’s legs, bringing the score to 3-2.