Mis-firing Havant hold on for victory

Sam Broadhurst in action against Staines. ''Picture: Sarah Standing143482-1151
Sam Broadhurst in action against Staines. ''Picture: Sarah Standing143482-1151
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Ady Adams was pleased with the result but knows Havant could have played better after they beat Staines 2-1 in South League premier division one.

First-half goals from Laurie Bowdon and James Speke gave Havant a two-goal advantage but Staines made it a nervy finish with a goal late on.

Both of Havant’s nearest rivals – Sevenoaks and Old Georgians –had their games postponed at the weekend so the Barncroft Way side remain second in the table going into the final match before the winter break.

Adams said: ‘I’m happy with the result but the performance could have been a lot better.

‘We came to get three points and we got them but we should have scored more goals than we did and I think we could have defended a bit better in the second half.

‘I was a little bit disappointed that we didn’t use our National League experience.

‘We’ve got a lot of players in our side who have got that National League and international experience and I just felt that at 2-0 up, with 10 minutes to go, we should really have shut the game out.’

Havant went on the offensive straight away and won two penalty corners but it wasn’t Sandeep Singh’s day as he failed to convert any of the five penalty corners won.

The hosts took the lead in the 21st minute when an attack from the left found Bowden, who turned and pushed the ball past the diving keeper.

Staines could have equalised three minutes later, though, and it took a diving Ben Cowling to turn a goalbound ball past the post.

Just when it looked like Havant would go in with just the one-goal advantage, Speke finished off an excellent team move just before the whistle to make it 2-0.

However, the hosts failed to make their territory count after the interval as Staines packed their defence and relied on the break.

The visitors had another chance turned over the bar, before finally getting on the scoresheet with six minutes to go.

‘We kept the ball very short and moved the ball around very quickly,’ said Adams.

‘In all honesty we could have been four, five or six goals up at half-time but just lacked the finishing touch.

‘The only opportunities they had was when they turned the ball over.

‘We scored a well-worked goal with a couple of first-time touches that was finished off by James Speke just before half-time, which changed my team talk.

‘In the end we scored that vital second goal but we had a five-minute lapse of concentration in the second half and we gave away a cheap easy goal which I wasn’t very happy about.

‘We let them back in the game with five minutes to go but we held on.

‘Like any side, they threw a few extra men forward.’

Adams added: ‘Last week Sandeep had four shots and scored four goals. This week the keeper had a good game and there were a couple of good charge-downs.

‘I was happy with how he was flicking but they just didn’t come off.’

Meanwhile Havant’s third string beat Aldershot & Farnham 6-2 in Hampshire League division two but the fourths went down 4-1 to Swanage & Wareham in division three.

The ladies’ second team beat Southampton University 2-0 in Hampshire Women’s League division one and are one of three teams on 22 points after 10 games.

In division three, the fourths stretched their unbeaten run to four matches thanks to a comfortable 3-1 win over Petersfield.

Two goals from Lou Davey, both from penalty corners, and one from Ali Locke secured the victory.