Borough sneak past Sholing with narrow success

By Connor Steel

GOSPORT BOROUGH maintained their ‘top three’ position in the Southern League Premier and completed the second successive success over ‘Christmas’ as they hosted Sholing on Boxing Day; sealing a close-fought one-nil home win in this “cagey” Hampshire derby encounter watched by a lunchtime crowd of over a thousand fans at a busy AEI Stadium.

It was a slow start for both sides despite the early kick-off and the first real opportunity arrived after six minutes; Harvey Rew dragging over his effort from an angle. But all the momentum was temporally stopped two minutes later when Dan Miller suffered an injury and had to be replaced; Bradley Targett going on a jinxing dribble upon the restart to slice over.

Borough then began to dominate the possession and should have been ahead in the fourteenth minute as a goalmouth scramble followed an effort from Dan Wooden; the ball finally being hacked away by Owen Roundell. This was followed by the Sholing keeper Ryan Gosney diving low to stop a powerful shot and a second injury as Jake Hesketh limped off.

The visitors however appeared more threatening as half time approached with Charlie Davis slamming harmlessly over the bar before setting up Dan Mason to nod wide of goal on 36 minutes. A third injury sadly brought a premature end to Targett’s afternoon as a lengthy spell of added time was given for stoppages; the teams cancelling out before half time.

Both outfits started quickly upon the restart with a chance down either end within the first five minutes; an intensity that was then halted as a Gosport player was stretchered off in yet another injury issue. This didn’t stop the home side from adding their goal before the hour though as Samuel Hookey latched onto a ball by Jake Scrimshaw before firing home.

Sholing responded quick and thought they had levelled on sixty-five minutes when Roundell nodded into the far corner; the ‘offside’ flag ruining huge celebrations amongst the away contingent. The frustrations spilled over as manager Paul Doswell was shown red for “dissent” and the Boatmen were reduced to ten men when Rob Flocks exited due to injury.

The final substitutions followed for Gosport and they may have doubled their lead with six left on the clock; Billie Busari cutting inside and curling inches wide on his ‘return’ to the AEI. The winger then threaded through a cross into Wooden who sliced over their final notable chance; Sholing throwing men forward to no avail as the hosts held on for the victory.

Although Borough stay third after the other results on Tuesday they have closed the gap on Salisbury and remain three points off ‘leaders’ Salisbury going into the New Year; their next fixtures being played on January 1. Pat Suraci and Joe Lea will be hoping they can beat Winchester City next Monday, before hosting Poole Town in the division on January 6.

PICTURED BY ESPIEJAZ PHOTOGRAPHY: Home keeper catches a high ball under pressure from the Sholing striker.