Havant save Fareham from play-off pain

10/3/13    spt''Fareham V University of Birmingham hockey action. Pictured is Fareham's 'James Seager''Picture: Paul Jacobs  (13692-4)
10/3/13 spt''Fareham V University of Birmingham hockey action. Pictured is Fareham's 'James Seager''Picture: Paul Jacobs (13692-4)
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Matt Cox scored for Havant. Picture: Keith Woodland

Havant unable to halt Olton counter charge

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Fareham had rivals Havant to thank for preserving their National League conference west status on Sunday.

The Henry Cort Community College outfit had to defeat Team Bath Buccaneers to make sure they would avoid the relegation play-offs.

But a 4-2 home loss left them sweating on other results, including Havant’s trip to second-bottom Whitchurch.

Soon news filtered through from south Wales that the Barncroft Way side had snatched a 2-1 triumph – thereby sparing Fareham from the end-of-season survival lottery.

And for a relieved Steve Lemon, who was standing in for first team head coach Nigel Cook, it was nothing more than the team deserved.

He said: ‘I’m delighted. We’ve been hit by a player shortage since Christmas, so to stay up is brilliant.

‘We had high expectations for this season but with players moving jobs we have had to play four under-18s.

‘They have been superb, though.’

And while Lemon thanked Havant for their crucial last-day intervention, he warned it would not see Fareham go easy on their fierce rivals.

‘The rivalry will start again just as fiercely next season,’ he insisted.

Fareham started well in their clash with fourth-placed Team Bath.

After a half which Lemon described as ‘the best of our season’, the hosts felt hard done by as an unlucky deflection sent them in 1-0 down.

Two goals early in the second half heaped further misery onto Fareham before an own goal from a short corner gave them hope.

Thoughts of a late rally were soon extinguished, though, as Team Bath netted a fourth – rendering Alex Bennett’s late goal nothing more than a consolation.

Meanwhile, Cheltenham were on their way to a 1-0 win over Bristol Firebrands – leaving Havant holding the key to Fareham’s hopes of avoiding the play-offs.

And they delivered to ensure there will be more derby days next term.

In a hostile atmosphere at Whitchurch, Havant took a second-minute lead as Maciej Janiszswski latched on to an Ollie Nail pass at the far post.

Craig Duffy then combined with Nail in the move of the match and sent Sam Broadhurst through for Havant’s second.

With the threat of the relegation play-offs hanging over them, Whitchurch came out fighting in the second half.

After spurning several chances, they eventually reduced the deficit through Simon Miles on 63 minutes.

But despite a raft of penalty corner chances, Havant held on to condemn the south Wales outfit to the relegation play-offs and ensure their south coast rivals survived.