Australian Sasha Thomas scored on his Fareham debut, but was unable to spare his winless team from a third England Hockey Western Conference defeat in four games.
They lost 2-1 to Exeter-based Isca and now lie second from bottom with only newly promoted Bristol University beneath them in the log.
The young Western Australian striker, who looked dangerous throughout, struck in the 32nd minute to wipe out a scrappy goal by Isca’s Tom Brooks five minutes before.
But Fareham were unable to respond to Dan Smith’s winner for Isca midway through the second half.
Head coach Ben Barnes said: “I was a frustrating result. We created more chances, won more penalty corners and had more circle entries than our opponents, but crucially did not make the most of our opportunities.
“Isca scored two scrappy goals on the break against the run of play but that is how hockey and sport can sometimes be a painful experience.”
Fareham were left to rue a shot by teenager George Davey which shaved the upright and three fine saves by the Isca goalkeeper from Jamie Rawlings penalty corners.
Winchester were disappointed having only come away with a 1-1 draw against fellow fancied South Premier League Division 2 rivals Tulse Hill & Dulwich at Kings’.
“Whilst the result should not be too disheartening against the team that finished third last year, given the number of chances that Winchester created, the boys will feel that they could have come away with all three points,” reflected player/coach Ben Hibberd.
Ex GB Olympian Rob Moore, whose skill and guile Winchester believe will be a great asset, made his debut almost scored with his first opportunity.
But his agonising miss was a sign of things to come as many good Winchester chances went unconverted with most of the midfield and forward line guilty of profligacy in front of goal.
Despite not scoring Winchester continued to look composed with the influential Craig Sims confidently breaking down Tulse Hill attacks and looking to quickly instigate dangerous forays into the visitors half.
But they were always susceptible to the counter attack – the Surrey visitors snatching the lead through Greg Rozenkranz.
Winchester regrouped and after spurning more chances got back on level terms with ten minutes left – Ed Malloy winning a penalty corner which Kent Langridge converted.
His equaliser set up a frantic finish, but with Hibberd and Mark Maunsell spurning chances, it ended all square.
Winless Trojans lie bottom of SP2 after losing 2-1 at Staines, where Ben Frost was on target.
Back (from left): Izzy Grigg, Mel Insall, Jenny Peebles, Rachael Robertson, Sally Gibson, Jill Tombs, Becks Treharne, Cat Horn, Emma Teague. Kneeling: Pip Stewart, Allison Evans, Livy Hazlett, Yvie Lock, Freya Wilks, Charlotte Cox, Maddy Lambrou.
Its four wins out of four for Trojans, who continue to share the England Women’s Hockey Western Conference leadership with Midlanders Olton & West Warwicks.
Two goals in 11 early second half minutes set up a 3-1 victory over winless Bristol Firebrands at Stoneham Lane, writes Mike Vimpany.
Trojans might have won by a more comfortable margin, but having been unable to build on their 2-0 lead were forced to endure some anxious moments in the back ranks after Firebrands pulled a goal back.
The Bristolians certainly didn’t allow Trojans much scope, getting as many players as possible behind the ball and endeavouring to hit their hosts on the break.
The ploy worked until shortly after the half-time break when Trojans broke the deadlock through American Alison Evans, one of six newcomers to the Stoneham squad.
Skipper Jenny Peebles and Sally Gibson were involved in the build up – Evans poking Trojans in front from a rebound off goalkeeper Isobel Rosie’s pads.
Trojans second, 11 minutes later, came after a scrambled penalty corner – Jill Toombs doubling the advantage.
When Gibson was twice unable to stretch Trojans into an unassailable lead, Firebrands hit back through Frankie Mayes.
Pip Stewart was desperately unlucky not to seal it for Trojans when she hit the outside of the far Firebrands upright with a cross-shot.
But after more Bristol pressure had been repelled, Cat Horn snatched a deflection off the end of Gibson’s stick to clinch the points with a third Trojans goal.
Four straight wins is the best start to the season Trojans have made since dropping out of the National League Premier Division elite.
Peebles puts the start down to “sheer hard work and work ethic at training” under the watchful eye of new coach Merijn Van Willigen.
“We’ve attracted six or seven new players this season and now boast a pretty decent 16-strong squad,” she added.
Mel Insall has joined from Havant and replaced now retired Clare Glover in goal, while Salisbury-based Izzy Grigg and Becks Treharne have arrived to stiffen the defence.
Charlotte Church’s return has strengthened the Trojans midfield, while the attack now has more potency with the arrival of police woman Cat Horn and Allison Evans, a player with good 3D skills, who was at New Jersey’s Princetown University, where the late President John F Kennedy studied.
Peebles, who takes her squad into the distinctly choppier waters of third-placed Stourport on Saturday, had a special word for 15-year old Maddy Lambrou.
“Maddy’s come through the junior ranks at Trojans and has improved immensely,” she said.
Relegated Southampton wiped out a two-goal deficit to get their Hampshire/Surrey Regional League Division 2 campaign off to a winning start with a 4-3 victory over Andover.
A George Allmark penalty and a second strike from Hayden Jenkins gave the Lions a 2-0 lead, which Josh White trimmed back.
Andover continued in the ascendancy, but by half-time Southampton were on level terms – Rob O’Brien winning the ball in midfield and George Watling celebrating his first team debut with the equaliser.
O’Brien was also instrumental in the third goal which gave Southampton the edge – the club’s player/coach turning his marker and setting up the chance which Andy Gregory took.
Andover forced a string of penalty corners and, having been denied by a string of fine saves by Toby Rigby, drew level at 3-3 through Ben Anthony.
Southampton’s fourth decisive goal came in the closing stages, Steve Wicks scoring from a rebound from O’Brien’s short corner drag flick.
The other three local sides in Regional 2 were all beaten, including newly promoted Hampshire League champions Winchester II, who lost 4-1 to Camberley & Farnborough.
Relegated Hamble, who host Southampton at Satchel Lane on Saturday (1.30), went down 3-2 at Surbiton III, while Romsey lost 3-1 to visiting Sunbury & Walton Hawks.
Fareham Ladies were held to a second consecutive South Women’s League draw when Division 3B rivals Guildford played out a goal-less stalemate at Henry Cort.
Chances were at a premium in a match which ended with Fareham’s Laura Farrell in hospital suffering facial injuries, including a broken and lacerated nose.
She will miss Saturday’s visit to Trojans II (3pm), who lost 2-1 to Wanderers at Battersea Park.
Sue Merry scored a late goal for Southampton, but her strike came too late to save the city girls from a 2-1 defeat by visiting Surbiton III.
Newly promoted Basingstoke got a taste of the testing times that potentially lay ahead in Hampshire/Surrey Regional Division 1 when Wimborne Wayfarers beat them 4-0.
Wimborne pressed hard from the start and were 3-0 up in 20 minutes.
They caught Basingstoke with a counter-attack when Simon Ridley broke into the circle before pulling the ball back for Sam Butterfield to score.
Two more goals followed in quick succession from a trademark Todd Clark penalty corner and a second from Sam Butterfield who maintained his composure to drill home a shot from a tight angle after his first effort had been saved.
After the game flow had been disrupted by a succession of ‘cards’ and two cloudbursts, Dan Bartram made it 4-0 deflecting home a well worked short corner routine.
Former Trojans winger Piers Eveleigh enjoyed a promising debut in midfield for WW.
Mark Maunsell, left, scored five minutes from time to secure a 2-1 win for Winchester at South League Premier Division 2 rivals West Hampstead.
Winchester looked to have paid the penalty for their first half profligacy when the Middlesex hosts cancelled out Ben Hibberd’s strike, but the city side finished strong to win.
New skipper Chris Jackson reflected: “We probably should have been 2-0 up going into half-time, but it wasn’t to be and as such we needed to come out fighting in the second half.
“I was really impressed with the way the side approached the second 35 minutes and was relieved we were able to get the winner five minutes from the end to clinch the points.”
West Hampstead edged a typically scrappy opening period and forced goalkeeper Ali Birch into fine smart save, down to his left-hand side.
The introduction of Jacob Hibberd from the bench added an element of composure to Winchester’s midfield and provided the structure the visitors needed to get their noses in front.
It was soon after Hibberd came on that Adam Tollefson sent a delightful line ball to player/coach Ben Hibberd, who rounded the Hampstead ‘keeper and finished in style with a reverse stick shot into the net.
It was not all one way as just before half-time West Hampstead would find themselves back on level terms as Winchester’s floundering defensive unit would gift Ed Perry a goal.
A ball hit in from the 25 yard line bounced through a series of sticks, before a rash challenge occurred and a penalty flick was awarded and duly despatched by Perry.
Winchester snared the points late on, with Maunsell making amends for a first half miss, latching on to a scuffed Hibberd shot and deflecting the ball home for the winner.
Improving Fareham are off the bottom of the National Hockey League Western Conference after gaining their first point of the season from an entertaining 2-2 draw with Chichester at Henry Cort.
They scored first through Jamie Rawlings, but needed an Alex Boxall equaliser six minutes from time to cancel out the 2-1 lead Oli Baxter had given Chichester.
It was a welcome respite for Fareham, who had lost their two opening games to newly promoted Old Georgians and Team Bath, conceding ten goals and scoring only once themselves.
“We have improved massively in the first three matches and I am very proud of their team spirit and cohesiveness,” said head coach Ben Barnes.
“It was great to get something out of the game with the effort the lads put in to training and the Chichester match.”
Fareham were full of purpose from the push back, bossing the midfield and taking a fifth minute lead through Jamie Rawlings, who sped a drag flick past Chichester’s Polish international goalkeeper Mac Pacanowski.
Some fine stick work by Gurmukh Bhamra almost led to a second Fareham goal, but Chris Davey rolled his shot wide.
George Harris (pictured in action) was the busier of the goal-minders, however, making several fine saves before Ollie Baxter deflected a shot from Luke Emmett past him shortly before half-time.
Chichester were the stronger side after the break, but Harris continued to thwart them, denying Alex Thakore and Jamie Whitehouse before Andrew Sparsholt’s powerful run into the D from the right-hand side led to the West Sussex side taking a 54th minute lead.
Again Harris made the save, but Thakore’s shot was picked up by Baxter to make it 2-1.
Two green cards and a sin-bin for Scott Rawlings increased the problems for Fareham, but back to a full compliment they drew level six minutes from time.
Davey responded to fire a low cross-shot across Pacanowski’s bows and Boxall got a clever reverse stick touch to force it home.
Fareham almost won it late on, but the Pole twice denied Davey then James Seager to earn Chichester a deserved share of the points.
Barnes reflected: “They threatened to put the game out of reach, but we kept our heads, defended well and when the chance to break came we had two or three good opportunities to score and we took one to equalise.
“George Harris in goal was exceptional, we defended bravely and intelligently and when we did get the ball wide early and stretch Chichester we looked dangerous.”
Fareham remain several players down on last year’s strength, but they will have a boost from Down Under for Sunday’s visit to Exeter University.
Sasha Thomas, a 19-year old who is in Hockey Australia Futures squad, arrives tomorrow and will go straight into the Fareham team for the West Country trip.
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