Fareham twice allowed a two-goal lead to slip before a Shane Vincent penalty corner equalizer enabled them to salvage a 4-4 draw from an action packed National South League affair with Teddington.
Two-up in ten minutes and 3-1 ahead early in the second half, Fareham found themselves 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 second half, which ended in controversy with the visitors initially awarded a hotly disputed penalty stroke, which 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 goalkeeper 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.
Fareham struck a purple patch, ripping Teddington apart, with Martin Gough flashing a shot across the face of goal and Vincent clipping the far post from a short corner.
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.
Fareham repelled subsequent attacks and four minutes into the second period re-established their two-goal cushion, teenager Fergus Jackson (pictured) 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 scoring his second and Elliot Smith sending two penalty corner drag flicks past Kemp to make it 4-3.
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 fifth goal 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.”
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