Resurgent Fareham can stay up with Barnes victory

Vicky Field. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves
Vicky Field. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves
  • Lemon must beat Barnes to ensure survival in the league
  • Fareham are one of five teams in the relegation mix
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Fareham will do everything they can to stay in South Clubs’ Women’s League division 3B, according to coach Steve Lemon.

The Henry Cort side must win their final match of the season away to already-relegated Barnes II tomorrow (1.45pm) if they are to avoid relegation from the division.

We will do everything we can to make sure we secure the points

Steve Lemon

There are five relegation places split across divisions 3A and 3B, but two of those have already been decided – leaving three more spaces up for grabs going into the final weekend.

Fareham are level with Andover on 23 points but will be safe if they win, courtesy of their better goal difference.

They are in the mix with Southampton, Guildford and Andover (all 3B), and Sonning and Wallingford (3A) to avoid the drop.

Staying up in the division has always been the target for Lemon and his side, after they gained promotion from the Hampshire Women’s League last season.

‘Our destiny is in our own hands,’ he said.

‘If we win by any number of goals, we will stay up.

‘It’s what I set out to do at the start of the season.

‘We will do everything we can to make sure we secure the points.

‘It will be a fantastic achievement in our first year at this level.

‘It’s quite a big jump from the Hampshire League and it’s been a big learning curve for us.

‘The last three weeks have been fantastic results and really good performances against sides in the top three.’

Lemon’s side have enjoyed a resurgence in form over the past few weeks of the season and have only lost twice in seven games.

They have beaten Southampton, Wanderers, Lewes and Surbiton in that run and only narrowly lost to league-leaders Wimbledon 1A.

Now they are determined to come back from London with the three to and secure their status in the league for a second season.

‘The key thing is, we’ve got to guard against complacency,’ said Lemon.

‘We’re going to have to work hard against Barnes.

‘It’s an awkward one because they have already been relegated and they’ve got nothing to play for.

‘They could be totally relaxed and put in the performance of the season, or they could roll over.

‘They only narrowly lost to Eastbourne last week so we’re not going to underestimate them.

‘We’ll play as if we’re playing top-of-the-table Wimbledon again.’

Lemon also highlighted the fact that Fareham have had a more settled side since Christmas, which has been a big factor in their improvement in the second half of the season.

‘We lost Vicky Field with a broken collarbone before the season had even started and then we had poor availability,’ he added.

‘Since Christmas we’ve been a more settled side.

‘We’ve had the same starting XI for three of the last four weeks.’

The likes of Field, Hannah Oldham and Bex Close have all been instrumental in Fareham’s good form.

Elsewhere, Fareham seconds have the chance to win Hampshire Women’s League division three if they win at the weekend.