Havant scored first, leaked three goals, but recovered to lead University of Birmingham 4-3 before the Midlands students grabbed a late equalizer with just two minutes left on the clock.
The threatening weather did not dampen the enthusiasm as a good home College crowd watched Havant’s first home game since being promoted back into the West Conference. They witnessed an eight-goal thriller ending in a 4-4 draw that was probably a fair result.
Havant went into the lead in the 6th minute after Maciej Janiszewski had stolen the ball off a defender and on entering the circle placed the ball neatly into the Birmingham goal. Birmingham nearly struck back two minutes later, but a pass across the Havant goal could not find a stick.
On nine minutes Havant were down to ten men after Tomek Bruml was yellow carded for a sliding tackle and during his ten minute suspension Birmingham scored twice. Birmingham equalised with their second penalty corner of the game in the 17th minute, the first was well saved by Chris Bristow, but he could only parry the drag flick from the second corner into the netting giving Scott Wall the first of his three goals on the day.
Within two minutes Birmingham students went ahead with the softest of goals. A centre from the left wing was allowed to travel through the whole defence to be touched in on the far post by Ed Whitworth.
Havant, 2-1 down, were now left chasing the game and could not stop Birmingham going further in front after Scott Wall converted another corner low down to Bristow's right in the 25th minute.
To Havant’s credit they rallied well from this setback and were denied from a penalty corner with a double save from Sam Lloyd in the visitors goal.
Maciej continued to look dangerous with his trademark forward running, and from one of these he pulled out another good save from Lloyd.
Havant deservedly pulled a goal back before the break in the 32nd minute when Mike Deller-Merricks robbed a defender and on entering the circle made no mistake placing a shot into the corner of the goal.
The Birmingham students started the second half with high tempo hockey, taking free hits quickly and could have extended their lead in the 38th minute, but another cross went begging.
In the 42nd minute Birmingham should have converted after a pass from a defender went straight to a forward, who rounded Bristow and with Raj Laly bravely back tracking to cover the line, the ball was hammered against a post deflecting away to safety.
After the 50th minute Havant won their fourth penalty corner and a slick routine saw Matt Boote level the scores.
Havant were now controlling the game and rolled up pressure which paid dividends when they won a further penalty corner in the 61st minute.
This time Jonathan Pickett sent a powerful shot into the corner of the goal to give Havant the lead.
Both sides carved out further opportunities in what was a fast game with plenty of endeavour from both sides. With two minutes remaining on the clock Birmingham were awarded their fourth penalty corner with Scott Wall firing home for his hat-trick earning the visitors a valuable away point.
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