Fareham ladies took another positive step towards the South Women’s League Division 3B championship with a 3-1 win over neighbours Southampton – but they still can’t shake off title rivals Old Georgians.
With three games to go, Fareham still lead OGs by a single point – with a handy plus six-goal difference under their belts – the Weybridge girls winning 3-0 at Lewes.
“It’s going to the wire, that’s if we finish,” said Fareham coach Steve Lemon, mindful of the Covid-19 pandemic which could yet lead to a premature abandonment of the competition.
“Historically, we’ve struggled against Southampton in the past, with just one Fareham win from the last seven matches the sides and we had to work hard and only sealed it late on.
“But it’s another win crossed off. Three more, provisionally starting at Winchester on Saturday lunchtime (noon), will get us across the line.”
Fareham made most of the running in the first half, Southampton initially concentrating on containment and counter attacks but, despite having the majority of the possession, the table topping hosts had little in the way of clear chances to show for it.
The breakthrough came in the 18th minute when a loose Southampton clearance was intercepted by Hannah Oldham, who planted a reverse shot past the unsighted Linda Dunham to give Fareham a 1-0 interval lead.
Fareham were reduced to nine men after coach Lemon incurred the wrath of an umpire in a bizarre touchline incident. Despite the efforts of Lou Hopkins, Southampton were unable to make their numerical advantage count.
In the second half, however, they did increase the tempo, gradually gaining the upper hand and, seven minutes into the session and after some fine saves by Jill Tovey, grabbed a deserved equaliser.
Sue Merry forced a penalty corner and, after a move involving Zoe Stride, Nat Romain converted to make it 1-1.
But the old adage of teams being vulnerable after scoring themselves applied to Southampton, who promptly surrendered the initiative two minutes later.
Fareham’s penalty corner routines have not been at best of late, but preparatory work on the training ground paid off as Georgia Collins potted a deflected shot to restore their lead.
Their noses ahead again, Fareham enjoyed the better of the remainder of the game, but protecting a slender one-goal lead ensured a nervy finish.
Relief for Fareham came in the final minute with a points sealing third goal following a move down the right flank initiated by Collins, who fed the ball inside to Cita Haines.
Her pass set up Vicky Field, who lost her marker before sending a reverse shot past Linda Dunham to clinch the win points for Fareham
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