Chichester lost out by the odd goal in nine when they made their shortest journey of the season for a floodlit fixture at Fareham.
Four weeks earlier, Chichester had beaten Fareham 3-2 in the HA Cup. Captain Kieran Henn sustained a broken finger in that game and it was fitting he was ruled fit to return for this league game.
The game started with Chichester imposing themselves on the game with confident, fast, attacking hockey. Fareham defended against an early onslaught but were unable to contain the attacking force of Chichester’s midfield and forward line, resulting in Jack Lerwill opening the scoring 14 minutes in.
Chichester continued to attack but Fareham proved their threat with the Chichester defence of Brook, Thakore, Sewell, Henn and Palmer content to soak up the pressure while goalkeeper Maciej Pacanowski made incredible saves from both open play and penalty corners.
A controversial penalty stroke gave Fareham a golden opportunity that they converted to level the scoreline at 1-1.
In the second half, the game continued to be very competitive and physical and Chichester took the lead again with an excellent open-play goal finished by Martin Gough. But it wasn’t long before Fareham converted one of their many penalty corners to level again.
Five minutes later Chichester’s attacking midfield were once again unstoppable with great link-up play from Lerwill and Emmett, leading to Cox smashing the ball in for a 3-2 lead.
Following Cox’s goal Chichester had a lapse in concentration and Fareham were able to level for the third time.
Another controversial penalty stroke saw Chichester go down to ten men and Fareham took the lead for the first time.
With Chichester’s threat limited by reduced numbers, Fareham increased the pressure and added another goal to make it 5-3 with seven minutes left.
Chichester’s refusal to accept defeat made for an exciting finish, with the away team throwing everything at the hosts.
Chichester’s forward line of Gough, Sparshott, Broadhurst, Baxter and Gibbons peppered the Fareham keeper and eventually great link-up play through midfield and attack saw Tom McCarthy mark his return from injury in style, beating the keeper and expertly finishing in to the bottom corner.
The visitors were unable to get the equalising goal in the last four minutes, which meant Fareham took all three points. It was another good performance but a frustrating result for Chichester.
This week Chichester host Bath Buccaneers in the HA Cup on Sunday at Kinghsam at 1.30pm. It will be the third time the teams have met this year but the first time at Chichester and it will undoubtedly be an exciting game.
CHICHESTER: Pacanowskiego, Brook, Thakore, Sewell, Palmer, Henn, Lerwill, Cox, Emmett, Sparshott, Broadhurst, Gough, Baxter, L Gibbons, C Gibbons, McCarthy.
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