Window cleaner George Davey scored a last gasp winner as Fareham took the first step on the ladder to a miracle escape from South League relegation with a 2-1 win over Canterbury.
Fareham’s first win since beating Brighton & Hove 4-2 in mid-October leaves Ben Barnes’s side three points behind the Sussex strugglers.
But with a goal difference of minus 36, Fareham are going to have to take at least four points from their remaining three matches to climb above Brighton – and that’s assuming they lose all of theirs.
Fareham’s final games are at champions designate Oxted (Sunday), Havant (March 15) and against Team Bath at Henry Cort seven days later, on the final day of the season.
Fareham worked hard for their victory over Canterbury, with James Seager and Phil Larcombe prominent in the move that led to Rory Penrose setting up Davey to roof the hosts in front with 11 minutes left.
Despite Josh Steel being sin binned, they held the lead until three minutes from time when, after several short corners, Lewis Fossey equalised.
It looked as though Canterbury might steal a point, but with the umpires checking their watches, Larcombe burst into the D and Davey fired Fareham’s winner past Australian keeper Cade Banditt.
Fareham weren’t expected to win their rearranged Sunday match with third placed Southgate and, having been three down at half-time, were eventually beaten 5-0.
But head coach Ben Barnes was far from disheartened.
“There where areas of the performances on both days that where encouraging,” he said.
“The second half against Southgate and, in particular, the final quarter we had five chances that went begging and forced two penalty corners.
“We are still fighting and the spirit to win against Canterbury, having let in an equaliser and then push for the winner rather than crashing was great to see.
“Against Southgate, we kept our heads after they took their chances well and stick to our guns.
“We just have to take more of the early chances we create to stay in games and are then able to push in the final quarter. Too many games we are not starting as well as we can.”
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