By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH concluded their Southern League campaign with a third successive victory at the AEI Stadium on Saturday afternoon, beating mid-table side Beaconsfield Town three-two in an entertaining game that ultimately could have gone the way of either team with absolutely nothing resting on any final scorelines.
Both outfits started slowly in the opening moments as Gosport edged possession and creating a first chance after nine minutes; Dan Wooden looping his header harmlessly wide from Harvey Rew’s whipped delivery. In response Kyel Reid and Tobias Little combined down the other end to no avail; the latter’s effort inches wide.
Beaconsfield continued to show defensive organisation as Abdulai Baggie and Busari Busari had their efforts blocked by individual centre-backs as play reached the half hour, but their resistance was broken in a special way. A cross was deflected into the slipping Baggie and the winger cushioned his shot into the top left corner.
An unlucky injury to Oliver Sprague signalled a tactical tweak for Beaconsfield and this seemed to push them forward as they levelled in the 40th minute through Samuel Granville; the midfielder standing unmarked after a recycled set-piece and his powerful high effort skidded past the unsighted home keeper Patrick O’Flaherty.
The visitors now had momentum and Gosport duly fell into their high pressing traps as they cheaply gave the ball to Nathan Minhas; the striker converting home to make it two-one to Beaconsfield. But the home side did respond immediately with a leveller of their own; Wooden hooking an effort under keeper Henry Grad for 2-2.
Buoyed by the half time break it was Beaconsfield who were threatening upon the restart as Elliott Buchanan found space through on goal; his low shot blocked by a outstretching glove of O’Flaherty before the resulting corner was headed just wide by Luke Neville on fifty-three minutes as an organised home backline stood tall.
Mark Molesley’s side continued to absorb away possession and were rewarded for showing patience as they won a penalty in the fifty-sixth minute when Busari was tugged attempting a neat spin-turn. Up stepped Rory Williams and the captain made absolutely no errors; slamming above the desperate grasp of Grad for a lead.
Given the open nature of this dead-rubber, fans were expecting more goals and they nearly got one on sixty-seven minutes after a slight lull; sublime interplay releasing Busari who scuffed a shot straight at Grad before the away goalkeeper further reacted brilliantly to deny a fierce piledriver from Danny Hollands at close range.
Substitutions followed across both teams with the final moments seemingly ebbing away; the visitors playing a range of crosses into the box and seeing Antoine Makoli denied by O’Flaherty at the back stick in stoppage time. The opposite keeper was then forced to stop Kyal Williams’ curling effort as Gosport sealed all 3 points.
Other results mean that Borough finished seventeenth after this frustrating league campaign; ending with 14 wins, five draws and 23 defeats overall. Combined with early exits from both the FA Cup and Trophy to lower league sides the team will be looking to rebuild this summer ready for a hopeful play-off push next campaign.
PICTURED BY BEACONSFIELD TOWN FC: Home team avenged their heart-breaking three-two loss to the Rams last November under Shaun Gale’s tenure; ending a frustrating season with third win in final 4 games.