In-form Fareham delighted by league position at halfway stage of the West Conference season
Four successive wins amid an unbeaten six-match run have swept Fareham into third place at the halfway point of the West Conference season.
It's a far cry from early October when Fareham' s young and emerging side was licking their wounds from successive five-goal beatings by Bristol University and Isca, writes MIKE VIMPANY.
Now, instead of fearing for their immediate England Hockey future, Fareham are relishing the prospect of battling for the solitary promotion position into South League 1 when the competition resumes in February.
Beating Cardiff University 5-2 at Henry Cort was arguably Fareham's best result of the season - and certainly delighted coach George Harris.
‘Everyone in the group is contributing now, so much so that I was able to do two full bench changes against Cardiff without any drop in quality,’ he said.
‘That result makes us the form side in the West Conference and 16 points from a possible 18 is a great return considering where we were after game three.’
Fareham enjoyed a dream start and were a goal up inside three minutes - the move claimed to having been rehearsed on the training ground.
Former Fareham manager Nigel Cook was quick to take the credit for the right-side move between Dylan Coleman and Chris Davey which culminated in the teenager (Coleman) scoring his second National League goal.
Fareham's early confidence was so high they even managed to convert a 16th minute penalty corner - Niall Stott slapping in a drag flick.
Alex White,a very useful addition between the posts since his arrival from Milton Keynes, made a fine save but at the other end Davey wasted a great one-on-one opportunity.
Window cleaner George Davey added a double touch of gloss to the Fareham scoring with two more goals inside three minutes to make it 4-0.
With their tails up, Fareham went gung ho chasing more goals - only to be caught on the rebound as Dan Maher clawed one back from a short corner.
But Fareham weren't finished as Kieran Page added a fifth after the Cardiff defence had been sliced open through the middle by a slick forward movement.
Chris Hudson converted a second penalty corner in the final play to cut Fareham's winning deficit to 5-2.
Haris singled out Coleman for praise. ‘He was man of the match, as voted by the squad. He’s been doing really well for us but, as a young forward, he has been worried about his lack of goals.
‘However, he was excellent in all departments and got the best goal we’ve scored this half of the season to get us going in the game.
‘The first half of the season has passed by in a flash. I definitely think we can improve which is exciting. Ideally, I want to add a couple of more layers to our game tactically just to keep things fresh.
‘To be realistically in with a chance of winning the league we have to get results against Isca and Bristol University, who both beat us comfortably at home.
‘I also expect others to improve and we become a target for all teams simply by way of doing well. However, third is a good position for Fareham to be in.’