Plenty of goals but head coach George Harris left with mixture of feelings after Fareham's opener with Exeter University 2s

Fareham Hockey Club head coach George Harris had mixed emotions as his men started the new campaign with an entertaining 3-3 home draw against Exeter University 2s.

Tuesday, 28th September 2021, 2:27 pm
Fergus Jackson struck in Fareham's opening-day draw. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (241020-16)

The club’s first-team had held a 3-1 advantage early in the second half but were forced to settle for a point in their National League Conference West opener.

Fergus Jackson, Niall Stott and Chris Davey all struck as Fareham turned around an early deficit to take control of proceedings.

But their Exeter University opposition continued to rally and came away with a point to show for their efforts with two second half goals.

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Harris admitted it was a match in which his could well have gone onto win, although he was full of credit for the way Exeter University's young players performed.

The Fareham head coach said: ‘I think on the face of it, at the start of the season, would I have been a bit disappointed with a draw against that opposition? Yeah, probably I would have been.

‘But in context now, I think given the preparation that we’ve had, it was a reasonable result and there are lots of positives to move on from.

‘It’s one of those games where you think, should we have won it? Yeah, we definitely should have won it. But could we have lost it? Well, definitely we could.

‘First and foremost, I’d give them some credit, also the fact we were 3-1 up in the game and they kept pushing.

‘They had really high energy, compressed the space quite well, they were young but they do get a really good crop of the best young players.’

Fareham included four National League debutants in the opening-day draw. And Harris was delighted to see some of the training ground work being implemented against Exeter University's second string.

He added: ‘We had Alex White making his debut, who is a new signing in goal, he made two or three outstanding games throughout the game to keep it in the balance and save us a point, really.

‘We put a lot of effort into preparation of corners, our free-hits and things around the circle, some of the things I’m asking the lads to do - counter-pressing when we lost the ball in the opposition half - that was really sharp and we got one goal from that.’