Havant’s hopes of cutting the gap on National South Division 1 leaders Oxted were blown away on a day when Storm Dennis battered England.
A victory over lowly Oxford at Havant College would have seen Havant move to within a point of the table-toppers. But they threw away a 3-1 lead to lose a remarkable encounter 6-5 - only their second league defeat in 12 games this season.
Havant took a fourth minute lead through Manuel Silvetti’s reverse shot. Polish international goalkeeper Maciej Pacanowski saved from a penalty corner shortly after, but was beaten when corner specialist Jack Biggs slammed a drag flick past him for an Oxford equaliser.
Pacanowski was kept busy thereafter, only for Havant to retake the lead - Silvetti again on target in a counter attack on 19 minutes.
Charlie Stubbings increased the hosts’ lead four minutes later. Winning the ball on the halfway line by catching a defender in possession, he surged forward before rounding keeper Chris Price to score.
The visitors were in no mood to capitulate, Ted Bennett pulling a goal back after a penalty corner save from Pacanowski fell to his open stick. Andy Watts then equalised from another rebound from a penalty corner.
Havant were back in front (4-3) in the third quarter with Stubbings setting up Jamie Whitehouse for a rasping shot across in the 45th minute.
Briggs made it 4-4 on 52 minutes, converting a penalty, before Freddie Smith put Hawks ahead for the first time.
It was Havant’s turn to level on 58 minutes with possibly the best goal of the game.
From a very narrow angle, having been forced wide, Atiq Arshad sent a powerful reverse shot past Smith.
Hawks scored the winner just two minutes later after a speculative cross from the right wing was deflected to the unmarked Edward Tristem.
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