Fantastic four goals provide flying start to Havant promotion play-off campaign

Havant men’s hockey first team made the perfect start to the National League promotion play-offs with a battling 4-1 win over conference north champions Bowdon.

Monday, 8th April 2019, 1:40 pm
Updated Monday, 8th April 2019, 1:47 pm
Miguel Rodrigues was on target for Havant in their opening play-off success. Picture: Vernon Nash (230219-071)

A fast start saw Havant take the lead in the 12th minute from their second penalty corner, writes Paul Marks.

Federico Bertoni’s drag flick proved too hot to handle for the Bowdon keeper.

After Bowdon spurned penalty corner chances of their own, Havant doubled their lead in the 25th minute.

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Ethan Hoddle showed some fine individual skills down the right flank and his cross was met by a diving Miguel Rodrigues.

It was all Bowdon up to the break and once again it was Maciej Pacanowski who kept Havant ahead with a series of fine saves, including a penalty stroke.

Pacanowski looked in unbeatable form and it was somewhat surprising when Matt Steventon found a way past him in the 43rd minute.

Bowdon continued to push Havant back, winning a number of penalty corners. There was little variation to their routine and Pacanowski continued to deny them.

Havant held out doggedly and with a breakaway chance they put it away clinically with four minutes left.

Charlie Stubbings made yet another darting run at the heart of the Bowdon defence.

When he slipped the ball to Atiq Arshad, there was still a bit to do, only for the Pakistan international to coolly evade the keeper and rifle a backhand shot into the net.

With the Bowdon keeper withdrawn in favour of a kicking back, another breakaway in the final minute, gave Mike Deller-Merricks a simple tap in.

Havant’s next match is against University of Exeter at 10am on Saturday, April 13 at Lee Valley. Exeter lost their opening match 4-2 against Old Georgians.