Havant made the perfect start to the Premier Promotion Play Offs with a battling 4-1 win over North Conference champions, Bowdon in Nottingham.
Havant took the lead in the 12th minute from their second penalty corner; Federico Bertoni’s drag flick proving too hot to handle for the Bowdon keeper.
After Bowdon spurned penalty corner chances of their own, Havant doubled their lead in the 25th minute. Teenager Ethan Hoddle showed some fine individual skills down the right flank and his cross was met by a diving Miguel Rodrigues.
It was all Bowdon up to the break and once again it was Maciej Pacanowski, back from Poland’s tournament in Malaysia, who kept Havant ahead with a series of fine saves, including a penalty stroke.
Pacanowski (pictured above) looked in unbeatable form and it was somewhat surprising when Matt Steventon found a way past him in the 43rd minute.
Bowdon continued to push Havant back, winning a number of penalty corners. There was little variation to their routine and Pacanowski continued to deny them.
Havant held out doggedly and with a breakaway chance they put it away clinically with four minutes left to make it 3-1.
Charlie Stubbings made yet another darting run at the heart of the Bowdon defence. When he slipped the ball to Atiq Arshad, there was still a bit to do, only for the Pakistan international to coolly evade the keeper and rifle a backhand shot into the net.
With the Bowdon keeper withdrawn in favour of a kicking back, another breakaway in the final minute, gave Mike Deller-Merricks a simple tap in. Havant 4 Bowdon 1.
Havant’s next match is against University of Exeter at 10.00am on Saturday 13 April at the Lee Valley Olympic Park. Exeter lost their opening match 4-2 against Old Georgians, who Havant will play on Sunday.
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