Goal-happy Fareham make storming start to new West Conference hockey season

Fareham are goal happy after scoring six times in each of their opening West Conference victories.

Wednesday, 7th October 2020, 1:42 pm
Phil Larcombe was on target for Fareham in their 6-2 victory over Cheltenham. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

They followed up a 6-1 win at Cardiff University with an impressive 6-2 defeat of visiting Cheltenham.

Portsmouth Grammar School’s Alex Beckett, who scored twice in south Wales, set the latest win up with another double in the opening 15 minutes.

The tall slim striker gleefully accepted an easy fifth minute tap in but, after Richard Owen had equalised, he out-foxed several defenders on the shoulder of the circle before hammering a shot past Sam Cathie.

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Fareham took their 2-1 advantage into the interval break – immediately after which two incidents swung the match in their favour.

First Rory Kemp made a point blank save from a short corner breakdown to deny Chris Laird.

Then, in a clinical counter-attack, the teenage Phil Larcombe drove from the 25-yard line and beat several defenders before sending a shot on the turn screaming past Cathie.

It was a fine individual goal – one which Fareham followed up with two more in quick succession from Chris Davey and Shane Vincent.

Denied at the first attempt, Davey made it 4-1 before Vincent converted Fareham’s second set piece to add a fifth.

Whilst Fareham dominated possession, Cheltenham remained a threat on the counter – Owen keeping their faint hopes alive from a penalty corner.

Subsequent Fareham attacks saw Larcombe denied by an outstretched goalkeeper’s boot and Davey have a second disallowed after an off-target shot by Josh Steel had been deemed dangerous.

Cheltenham refused to throw in the towel and on three separate occasions Kemp denied them before Sam Ratliffe celebrated his debut National League goal.

A mass goalmouth scramble ensured after Vincent’s penalty corner had been blocked, but Ratliffe somehow found a gap to poke the ball in.