Rose still eyes top spot after Exeter flop at lowly Fareham
Conference West round-up
UNIVERSITY of Exeter captain Matthew Rose has refused to throw in the towel in the race for promotion despite his team’s 1-1 draw at struggling Fareham.
Fareham are the only club yet to record a home win in the Conference West this season, but stunned their thirdplaced visitors on Sunday when they edged ahead on 18 minutes, Jamie Rawlings converting from a penalty corner.
Exeter dug deep in the second half and levelled through James Ferguson with 25 minutes still left on the clock, but could not find a winner.
Victories for top two Cardiff & Met and Team Bath Buccanneers leave Exeter eight points off the summit with five matches to play.
Rose, whose team were top of the table in October, said: “At this stage of the season dropping points is not ideal.
“It wasn’t the result the lads wanted to get, but the boys have been outstanding this season and we still have momentum behind us for the BUCS quarter-final with Durham, who are going well in the North Conference.
“Of course we wanted the three points, but the draw keeps us ticking over ... we can still get top spot.
“We need results to go our way, but the league is congested, particularly the top half of the table, and anyone can have their day.
“Cardiff have still got to play Team Bath, so someone will drop points there. There will be chances for us.
“There is no point in us going into games without the strong desire to continue winning and go for promotion.”
Exeter will hope they can bounce back immediately this weekend when they travel to fourth-placed Old Georgians.
Having triumphed 3-2 in November’s corresponding fixture, Rose is optimistic.
He added: “In the home fixture we came out on top, so we will be looking for the same again.
“We need to bounce back and there is no reason we cannot go out and deliver another strong performance.”
Cardiff & Met recorded their sixth successive Conference West win to maintain their advantage at the top of the table.
After a goalless first half with Old Georgians, Luke Hawker opened the scoring for the Welshmen from a 40th-minute penalty corner.
On the hour Nick Cooper levelled for Georgians, but Hawker scored from another penalty corner routine with five minutes remaining to clinch the points.
Team Bath Buccanneers remain hot on their heels after a 6-0 win at bottom club University of Bristol.
John Jackson and Liam Sanford struck two goals apiece, with Peter Scott and Adam Croutear also on target.
Isca boosted their hopes of survival with a 4-1 win at home to Chichester.
Sam Lynch broke the deadlock on 42 minutes, but Jamie Whitehouse levelled matters on 55 minutes.
But goals from Lynch, Tim Nurse and Tom Whitworth in a sixminute spell saw Chichester blown away as Isca won for only the third time this season.
Cheltenham’s miserable form on the road this season continued with a 3-1 defeat at University of Birmingham.
Tom Poustie and George Sweeting had the hosts two goals to the good at half-time.
And though Michael Kelly halved the deficit from a penalty corner, Scott Wall struck to condemn Cheltenham to a fifth defeat from six away games, in which they have scored only seven goals.