Fareham ladies clawed back two late goals to peg Horsham to 3-3 – only to suffer last minute heartbreak when the Sussex side grabbed a dramatic 4-3 victory.
It brought an end to Fareham’s seven match unbeaten South Women’s League Division 3B run either side of the winter break and left coach Steve Lemon gutted.
“With those late goals pulling us back from 3-1 down, I honestly thought we’d done enough to earn a point, but it wasn’t to be,” he reflected.
“We didn’t kick on from a really good start and if we’d converted one of those early chances, I think you would have seen a different outcome.”
Fareham began well at Christ Hospital, but failure to convert early dominance into goals cost them as an improving Horsham took the lead on the hour mark.
Laura Ryan equalised soon after the restart after an effort from Jo Faulkner was well saved, but despite some superb goalkeeping by Jilly Toovey Horsham forged 3-1 ahead.
With five minutes left, Kate White made it 3-2 after a fine move involving Vicky Field and Laura Ryan, and when Ryan bagged her second of the match and Fareham’s equaliser, it looked as though it would end all-square.
But in the very last play, Toovey made another great save, pushing the ball on to the post, only for a Horsham player to follow up and score the winner.
Fareham’s first loss since late November enabled Southampton, 1-0 winners over Eastbourne at the Saffrons, to leap above their local rivals into fourth spot, albeit on goal difference.
Southampton’s winner came in the seventh minute – a sharp break by Lou Hopkins culminating in a neat pass to Sue Merry, whose fifth league goal of the campaign proved decisive.
The respective teams exchanged attacks, with Southampton goalkeeper Joe Topping making one stunning head-high save.
Southampton held tight, bossing the final quarter without adding to theat early goal that sent them home Merry.
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