Fareham twice allowed a two-goal lead to slip before a Shane Vincent penalty corner equaliser enabled them to salvage a 4-4 draw from a National South League thriller with Teddington.
Two-up in ten minutes and 3-1 ahead early in the second half, Fareham were 4-3 down after Teddington converted successive penalty corners.
But Vincent saved the day for the South Division’s bottom club midway through a frenetic Henry Cort second half, which ended in controversy with the visitors initially awarded a hotly-disputed penalty stroke that was subsequently overturned after the umpires consulted.
Fareham flew out of the traps, stunning early season table-toppers Teddington with two early goals – the first from Chris Davey, who lashed an aerial ball from Vincent past startled giant Alex Rooney, who was so tall he only just fitted under the 7’ crossbar!
Fareham head coach Ben Barnes described Davey’s strike as ‘the most outrageous goal I have seen for a long while, better than his overhead goal against Exeter University a few years back.’
Two minutes later Fareham doubled their lead, Davey the provider as Alex Boxall made it 2-0.
Teddington regrouped and forced a ‘foot on the line’ penalty which Rory Kemp saved brilliantly – his outstretched stick diverting Kyle White’s stroke around the upright.
The Middlesex visitors were not to be denied, however, increased pressure culminating in a 23rd minute goal from Ed Greaves.
Four minutes into the second period re-established their two-goal cushion, teenager Fergus Jackson celebrating his maiden National League goal from a retaken short corner.
But Fareham’s prospects of celebrating only a second league win were dashed when Teddington scored three times in ten minutes – Greaves netting his second and Elliott Smith sending two penalty corner drag flicks past Kemp.
The roller coaster action continued as Fareham drew level at 4-4 with Vincent converting Jackson’s penalty corner injection.
As both sides went for a potential winner, Kemp pulled off a strong of fine saves – only to have a controversial penalty stroke awarded against him in the closing minutes.
But Fareham’s protests led to the umpires conferring and the stroke decision over-turned.
Barnes reflected: ‘At 3-1 up we made basic errors from being too passive, but the response from the players at 4-3 down was excellent.
‘Everyone played better. It showed how we can dig deep, and if we continue to improve and show that kind of character then we can compete against anyone in this league.
“Let’s not forget the average age of the group, the potential for large improvement is clear to see.
‘There are ten more games to go and if we can see improvement week after week I will be happy.’
Havant were two minutes away from recording a second successive National League win.
Having beaten Fareham 2-0 the week before, they led at Oxford Hawks until the hosts levelled two minutes from time through Charlie Neat.
Somewhat against the run of play, Havant had taken a 19th minute lead.
From an attack down the right flank, the ball bounced around in front of goal before Manu Silvetti forced the ball in.
Just before half-time Chris Smith was the victim of a wild swing of the stick, from the home team’s Ted Bennett, which resulted in a 10-minute suspension.
With a player advantage, Havant won their sole penalty corner of the game - Fede Bertoni’s drag flick flashing just past the post.
Keeper Maciej Pacanowski kept Oxford out on several occasions before a loose pass across the back four was mis-trapped and the hosts took full advantage.
Now up to fourth, Havant host fifth place Teddington at Havant College this Sunday (2pm).
Luke Gould netted as second bottom Fareham 2nds drew 1-1 at home to Reigate Priory in Hampshire/Surrey 1.
Leaders Barnes defeated Havant 2nds 4-2.