Bracknell stun Gosport in thriller roller-coaster clash

By Connor Steel

GOSPORT BOROUGH succumbed to their 1st league loss since late December as they travelled to Bracknell Town on Saturday afternoon; eventually falling four-three to their resurgent hosts at the SB Stadium after this ‘thrilling encounter’ that brightened up the freezing atmosphere and all three points were ultimately settled in additional time with two goals.

It was a cagey start to the proceedings and took nine minutes for the opening chance, which fell to Bracknell as Jordan Espirit drove wide of the far post after linking up with Joseph Grant. In response the visitors saw Harvey Rew’s low ball collected by Dan Wooden in a threatening area; the striker turning the marker but dragged over the bar at a tight angle.

Both sides seemed to settle into a midfield battle after this flurry of opportunities and saw an equal share of possession in promising positions, but were unable to convert the momentum into chances. This was until the half hour as Gosport worked themselves into an attack that yielded many efforts; the final drive tipped away by home keeper Michael Eacott.

Another good chance went begging for the visitors as Billie Busari cut inside and sliced over of the near post, but it was actually Bracknell who took the lead after thirty-nine minutes. It came as Gabriel George advanced into a ‘small pocket’ of space and floated a perfect delivery into the path of Adam Richards, who headed home to make it 1-0 at the interval.

Bracknell were out strongly upon the restart and won a penalty after fifty minutes when Espirit was fouled cutting inside the area; this spot kick easily dispatched into the top left corner from the same striker. This made it two-nil and the lead was nearly trebled before the hour mark as Espirit was found through on goal, only to be denied by Steward’s fine stop.

Borough responded brilliantly and reduced these arrears on 67 minutes through Alex Barsa, who headed home a great cross from Rafa Ramos to make it 2-1. This gave the visitors a confidence boost and they equalised eight minutes later when Bradley Tarbuck tried to find Ramos lurking within the area; this cross deflecting and deceiving the dive of Eacott.

A stunning comeback looked to be complete on eighty minutes when Ramos took advantage of a defensive mix-up and converted to make it 3-2, whilst substitutions and injuries also killed time. But Bracknell levelled in stoppage time Espirit made it three-all from eight yards before Haydon Vaughan sent home a fourth to clinch the points with just seconds left.

Defeat means that Gosport have slipped to fourth in the Southern League table although they have played less fixtures than the ‘top three’ going into a crucial run of matches. This begins next weekend when Pat Suraci and Joe Lea’s outfit travel to fellow ‘play-off rivals’ AFC Totton before they host second place Merthyr Town at the AEI Stadium a week later.

PICTURED BY BRACKNELL TOWN FC TWITTER: Adam Richards heads home opener in a seven goal league thriller.