Oxford started the brighter and created two chances in the first six minutes though neither resulted in a shot on target. Havant won the first penalty corner of the game after good interchange on the left between Akhtar Ali and Charlie Stubbings, but Federico Bertoni pulled his drag flick just wide of the left upright. Oxford bounced straight back with a high shot that forced Maciej Pacanowski to pull off the first of series of excellent saves. Then a surging run by Federico was only halted by the Havant defender being upended inside the final quarter of the Oxford end. This time the penalty corner was mis-trapped and the opportunity was lost.
The momentum then swung towards Oxford. Moving the ball quickly and accurately, they carved out five chances in the next ten minutes, but couldn’t find a way past Maciej in the Havant goal. That was until the 30th minute, when Oxford won their first penalty corner. Jake Bigg’s drag flick was an unstoppable effort into the top left hand corner. Havant hit straight back and three minutes later some dazzling stick work from Akhtar Ali found Jack Stubbing’s in the centre of the circle. This time Jack’s goal bound shot was turned round the post by Oxford keeper, George Oyebode. Just before half time, another Jack Bigg’s drag flick was well saved to his left by Maciej.
Oxford started the second half strongly again, forcing another penalty corner which Maciej this time saved to his right. It was Havant though who got themselves level after 48 minutes. After a first penalty corner was deflected over the bar by the on-rushing defender and a second was salvaged after another mis-trap, Havant made no mistake from the third. This time Havant made a change to their castles at the top of the circle creating a wider angle for Federico to put a powerful flick past the right hand post man. Five minutes later, Havant went ahead. Ethan Hoddle won a sixth penalty corner after some good work down the left baseline. With Federico off the pitch, Jonathan Pickett linked with Matt Cox to score with a well worked deflection. The lead only lasted two minutes. Oxford won a free hit on the right just outside the circle. Although the ball didn’t appear to travel five metres before entering the D, the umpire waved play on. The Havant defence still had two opportunities to clear the ball, but when they didn’t, the Oxford captain, Andy Watts, was left with a simple tap in from two yards out.
At this point, the game quietened down with both sides perhaps happy with a point. There was still time with two minutes to go for Havant to create a final opportunity which fell to the stick of Indy Laly. With the match winning headlines appearing in front of his eyes, Indy’s mishit failed to trouble the keeper.
With leaders University of Birmingham, who come to Havant next Sunday, beaten by Olton & West Warwicks and Cardiff & Met held to a draw at Fareham, Havant remain in third place in the table.