Encouraging early signs but start is not a good one for Havant at Sevenoaks

Havant Hockey Club player-head coach James Morris took a number of positives despite his side slipping to an opening-day National League Division One South defeat at Sevenoaks.

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 11:24 am
Jamie Rawlings, left, netted on his Havant debut in the defeat at Sevenoaks. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Morris' tenure in charge of the club's men's first team began with a 3-1 loss in Kent.

Yet despite failing to pick up a point in their opener, the Havant player-head coach says there were plenty of signs which provided him with great satisfaction.

Debutant Jamie Rawlings pulled the visitors back into at 2-1 after Sevenoaks had opened up a two-goal advantage thanks to early strikes in each half from Ben Allberry and Max Denniff.

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However, any hopes of a Havant comeback were dashed when Allberry grabbed a second to wrap up victory for the hosts.

But Morris felt they were plenty of encouraging signs which pointed to a Havant squad with a number of new additions enjoying a successful season.

He said: ‘There were a lot of positives in there. There were a few things there are always going to be with new lads, a new system, there’s always going to be a few teething problems.

‘As a rule, it wasn’t demoralising, there’s potential there, everyone is in the same boat – that it’s onto the next.

‘It was a tough one, it wasn’t necessarily a bad performance, we just weren’t at our best.

‘In this league it comes down to small margins. We created a few chances, we made them work hard for theirs, if we’d have been a little bit more clinical across the pitch we might have come away with three points.’

The visitors were always chasing the game after ex-Havant man Allberry fired Sevenoaks ahead from close range after four minutes.

Morris' men were caught cold again five minutes after the restart, this time Denniff was the player to double the home side's advantage.

Rawlings powered home on his Havant debut to make it 2-1 with time still left on the clock but Allberry bagged again to send his old club crashing to defeat.

And Morris insists his team must cut out the 'little errors' which ultimately cost them at Sevenoaks as they prepare for a home meeting with Brighton & Hove on Sunday.

He said: ‘It’s about making sure all of our little skill breakdowns and little errors are put behind us and we can focus on the weekend.

‘To hold on, even conceding that early in both halves, to stick together as a team and keep working hard shows that we’ve got a bit of fight in us and we’ve got that battle. We just need to tighten up around the pitch and I think we’ll be okay.’