GOSPORT BOROUGH continued their fine run of league form after beating Dorset-based Dorchester Town at a rain-soaked Avenue Stadium on Saturday afternoon, with goals from Bradley Tarbuck and Dan Wooden sealing a 2-0 win on the South Coast.
It was a dominant performance from Shawn Gale’s men who are now seven matches unbeaten in the Southern Premier, with these latest three points moving the team level on points with Hayes & Yeading United FC at the top of the table.
In heavy consistent rain, Gosport made a bright start and should have taken the lead in the fourth minute as Tarbuck forced Dorchester goalkeeper Alan Walker-Harris into a smart save from his half volley. Harvey Rew then found space down the wing but dragged his shot harmlessly wide moments later, before the hosts created their first shot of the game after 10 minutes. Good work from Flavio Taveres set up Alfie Stanley but the striker’s effort from an angle flashed harmlessly across away keeper Albert White..
After Tarbuck had drilled wide from the right and Rory Williams went close, Gosport took the lead on 23 minutes. Good passing around the Dorchester penalty area sent Tarbuck free on goal and the winger made no mistake with his third shot of the afternoon, firing past Walker-Harris with a calm side-footed finish. It was a goal that had Boro’ sense blood as Theo Widdrington fired over the crossbar with a curling effort before the centre midfielder saw a speculative effort from 25 yards fly harmlessly wide on 33 minutes.
Lerone Plummer then had a tame effort saved by White while the hosts also put a number of crosses into the Gosport box. Ultimately it was a first half dominated by the visitors and 1-0 didn’t reflect the play as it neared the break. But just as fans were heading for respite from the rain Gosport made it 2-0 on 42 minutes; Widdrington was fouled attempting a neat turn down the left with a free kick awarded. The delivery from Williams was inch perfect and evaded everybody in a crowded box, reaching Wooden at the back post who converted into the corner from six yards. It turned out to be the final notable action of the first half as the referee blew for the interval with the rain continuing to hammer down.
Not that the weather affected Gosport’s confidence and attacking play – they started the second period in fine form, Widdrington and Joe Lea in central midfield arguably stealing the show with plenty of neat flicks and short passing moves. But aside from Matt Briggs heading wide from a corner, the visitors were unable to create any clear cut chances as the clock ticked towards the hour mark.
Substitutions and bookings for both sides signalled a lull in proceedings with weather worsening; Dorchester were unable to inspire any hope of a comeback despite half chances from Stanley and substitute Keiran Phillips with Borough looking the likelier to score in the final 20 minutes. Lea made his way into the opposition box but his pass narrowly missed the sliding boot of Wooden, before Widdrington sent a stinging shot towards goal that was brilliantly saved by Walker-Harris between the sticks.
Although the game was effectively over it still produced some controversy as Gosport won a corner on 82 minutes. It looked to have been headed towards goal by Ryan Woodford who rose highest and the ball was cleared away by a defender. Despite Gosport players and staff appealing yjat the header had crossed the line, referee Lewis Sandoe deemed it was blocked and allowed play to continue. Seven minutes later, a third Borough goal came as Matt Briggs headed home a free kick down the left. But the celebrations were soon ended by the officials who ruled it offside; meaning that the score remained 2-0 to Gosport as the final whistle went.
With other sides playing FA Cup matches this weekend and cancellations during the week due to the fuel crisis, Gosport were unable to clinch top spot in the league but are now level in second place as they start a busy October with a win. Their next game will see Paulsgrove travel to Privett Park for a Portsmouth Senior Cup tie on Wednesday before another home clash versus Met Police next Saturday afternoon. Away trips to Farnborough, Truro and Harrow Borough will also take place this month; but everybody will be looking towards the Hayes & Yeading fixture on October 20 in a top of the table clash providing both sides keep their excellent form.