Luke Cornish marked his Henry Cort homecoming with a two-goal brace which pointed Fareham to a 3-2 England Hockey West Conference win over Exeter-based Isca.
The Loughborough University student, who is back in the area on a year-long business placement course, bagged Fareham’s first and third goals.
But like his team-mates, will have left the field disappointed that Fareham did not wrap the game up at 3-1 and go on and win by a wider margin.
“The way we dominated the game didn’t do us justice and made the scoreline flattering for Isca,” Fareham manager Nigel Cook reflected.
“We didn’t convert any of our six penalty corners and we should have done better taking into account the number of circle entries we enjoyed.
“To be fair, though, their goalkeeper played out of his skin and pulled off a succession of fine saves, particularly in the second half.”
It took Fareham until mid-way through last season before they chalked up their first win – but Cornish put them on their way with a neat deflection ten minutes into the game.
Beaten 4-32 by champions in their West opener, Fareham dominated the play for long periods but in between their first and second goals they had a nasty escape when Jamie Rawlings cleared off his own line with goalkeeper George Harris beaten.
Fareham twice saw penalty corners beaten away – one waspish drag flick was palmed out by man-of-the-match Ed Jones – before a neat three-man move, initiated by Alex Boxall, led to the hosts extending their lead.
Boxall linked up with Martin Gough and Chris Davey before squeezing the ball between the goalkeeper and the upright for an easy Gough tap in.
All Fareham’s good work was almost undone as Jason Coventry clawed a goal back for the Devonians before half-time.
But Cornish, pulling the strings in an eye-catching Henry Cort return, restored parity by arrowing a shot from the edge of the D after Boxall had done the spadework.
Fareham ought to have taken the game by the scruff of the neck at that point, but their failure to extend their lead almost cost them dear.
Isca wasted a series of penalty corners before Fareham old boy Simon Tremlett eventually converted a set-piece.
But it was too little too late for the West Country visitors, who suffered a second consecutive defeat.
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