Having been crowned Western Conference champions a week earlier, Havant’s visit to second placed Olton & West Warwicks was effectively a ‘dead game’ – one which the title winners came out on the wrong side of by an 8-3 scoreline.
In truth the game was much closer than the result suggests and rested on a key decision midway through the second half.
After Tim Hoare successfully snuffed out a clear opportunity for the home team, Federico Bertoni put Havant ahead from their first penalty corner. Olton hit back almost immediately from a penalty corner of their own and scored two further goals before the interval. Olton 3 Havant 1.
A fourth Olton goal might have sealed it, but Havant then raised their game with some high speed interplay between the midfield and forwards.
Bertoni scored a second and then Matt Cox hit a fine backhand shot to make it 4-3. Then came the crucial play.
Another fine piece of fast, accurate passing led to Charlie Stubbings putting the ball through to Atiq Arshad in front of goal. Atiq went to ground as the shove in the back was missed by both officials. Needless to say Olton immediately went to the other end and scored a fifth
Havant continued to play an open game and carved out unconverted chances, while Olton exploited the gaps that appeared in the visitors defence and added three more goals to run out 8-3 winners.
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