Fareham Ladies have established a four-point lead at the top of South Women’s League Division 3B at the halfway point of the season.
A comfortable 2-0 win over title challengers Barnes put them in a commanding position, with second placed Old Georgians (the only side to have beaten them this far) looking the most likely threat to their championship dreams.
Fareham generally bossed the game against Barnes at Henry Cort and took control from the eighth minute onwards when Vicky Field got a vital deflection in the D.
The build up to Fareham’s opening goal was initiated by a lofted clearance out of defence by Laura Pendleton which sent Field away down the right for an exchange of passes with Heather Batten, who set up the chance.
The quality of Fareham's passing and movement stood out as they gradually wore down their Middlesex opponents with their pace and change of direction as they retained possession.
One flowing sequence of passes almost brought a second goal in the closing seconds of the first half when Hannah Oldham's cross from the left had Barnes all at sea but the final touch proved elusive and it remained 1-0 at the break.
Fareham got back into their rhythm immediately play resumed and they doubled the lead in the 38th minute with a Georgia Collins shot from a penalty corner.
Delighted Fareham coach Steve Lemon said: “Georgia possibly didn't quite get as much power on her drag flick as intended but it did the trick as the keeper and defenders on the line found it too awkward to keep out.”
“Given the quality of the two defences, it always looked likely that two goals would be enough, however, there were further near misses in front of the Barnes goal and their keeper, Emily Overend, made an excellent save at full stretch to keep out a shot bound for the bottom corner.”
The visitors tried hard to pull a goal back but the Fareham defensive unit was secure and able to deal with any threats.
Fareham will expect to strengthen their lead at the top when lowly Tulse Hill & Dulwich visit Henry Cort on Saturday morning, 11.45.
Despite suffering a 2-0 defeat against second placed Old Georgians at Weybridge, Southampton were far from discouraged about their performance, particularly in the second half. were far from discouraged about their performance, particularly in the second half.
Senior pro Sue Merry said: “We worked really hard as a team and continued to show our strengths. When we were on the attack we were fast and supported each other all over the pitch.
“The quality of hockey we were displaying showed in the second half where we held such a dynamic team.
“We had a goal disallowed, but can look back on Weybridge as the best hockey we have played this season which we will take into our final pre-Christmas game at Aldershot & Farnham.”
Winchester’s visit to Lewes was called off due to a frozen pitch.
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