Fareham edge ahead in play-off race but will face crunch Oxford contest

Fareham recorded a crucial 2-1 win at Bristol University in National League men’s conference west to keep their hopes of a seventh-place play-off place alive.

Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 2:37 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th March 2019, 2:41 pm
Fareham's George Davey scored the winner against Bristol. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

The result means Fareham have inched above the Bristol students by virtue of a better goal difference, writes Mike Vimpany.

Fareham head coach Ben Barnes said: ‘I was really pleased with how we held our nerve and slowly but surely ground them down in the second half and won.

‘Real character and discipline was demanded before the game and the lads delivered.

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‘John Price had a really good game at the back, Niall Stott and Alex Boxall showed their experience as well to keep the game at our tempo for the last 10 minutes.’

Fareham’s eventual final place will hinge on the outcome of Sunday’s last round of matches when Oxford Hawks come to Henry Cort and Bristol go to Birmingham University.

It’s going to be a difficult match.

Hawks have hit 18 goals in three wins in a row.

But Fareham will need to take confidence from their dogged win against Bristol. They came from behind at Coombe Down after Luke Crocker fired the students ahead a minute before the half-time break.

Within a minute of the restart Fareham were level with Niall Stott converting a penalty corner.

George Davey’s goal in the 55th minute proved the winner.

Bristol withdrew their goalkeeper and played with a kicking back for the past five minutes.

With Stott yellow carded Fareham had to do some serious defending and protected the circle well.

Barnes added: ‘We had three really good chances to go 3-1 up and kill the game but failed to take those opportunities which would have settled the nerves.’

Scotsman Christian McKenna notched a hat-trick as Fareham seconds won 4-1 at Barnes in Hampshire/Surrey Regional division one.