Late collapse leaves Havant still right in the thick of survival fight

Graeme Frith saw his try wiped out
Graeme Frith saw his try wiped out
Tom Whitehouse. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-81)

Pearce fires warning to triumphant Portsmouth

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Havant blew a great chance to move closer to National League safety as they slipped to a 27-23 defeat at Gravesend in National League Three London & South East.

The visitors led 20-7 going into the final half-hour but allowed the home pack to gain the ascendancy and claw their way back into the game.

A disallowed try at a crucial point in the second half also left Havant frustrated, and despite battering away at the Gravesend line for the final 10 minutes ,Havant had to settle for a bonus point.

‘It was very disappointing to lose after getting ourselves into such a good position,’ said director of rugby Adam King.

‘When Gravesend threw everything at us we lost some of our discipline to concede 21 points in as many minutes.

‘On a positive note, we did go there and play our running rugby and showed great character to hit back at them in the closing stages.

‘The bonus point, though, was scant consolation because we feel it was a game we could and should have won.

‘It leaves us four points clear of Basingstoke with three games left to play.

‘We were tantalisingly close to getting the vital win to get over the line and the referee was the only person who thought it was a forward pass to disallow Graeme Frith’s try.

‘If we continue to show the same commitment and are able to tighten up a little then I am convinced we can maintain our National League status.

‘We looked like a side that should be playing at this level and could have pinched it at the end.’

Havant made an excellent start through a David Keyte penalty, followed by tries from Jaryd Robinson and Grant Morris – both converted by Keyte.

Penalties either side of half-time from Keyte further strengthened Havant’s position before the Gravesend pack took over to rattle up their winning points.