Gosport back on winning form in Truro encounter

By Connor Steel / Photograph by Tom Phillips

GOSPORT BOROUGH returned to winning league form after successive defeats to Met Police and Farnborough, taking advantage of an enforced 10-day break to beat Truro City at Bolitho Park on Saturday afternoon.

Goals from Dan Wooden and Nicky Dembele sealed the three points for Shawn Gale’s men as they tamed the Tigers, gaining maximum rewards after a long, 340-mile all-round trip to Plymouth for this Southern Premier encounter.

Both teams seemed to start slowly on a wet surface and chilly autumnal conditions in Cornwall, although Truro saw more possession that allowed them to create the opening chances in the first 10 minutes. Will Dean’s corner was headed over by the rising Tyler Harvey and Euan Pollock saw a couple of tame efforts saved by Albert White in the away goal. Another opportunity for the hosts saw midfielder Louis Rooney set up a forward attacker with a tackle from Ryan Woodward seeing the ball landing perfectly into the path of Dean, who fired inches over the bar 20 yards out on 21 minutes.

Although Harvey Rew’s flashed drive narrowly missed the target down the other end, Gosport seemed to absorb this early pressure and limit their hosts to long distanced efforts. But on a rare attack on 32 minutes, Borough took the lead with their first shot on target following a cross into the box. It looked to have been gathered by Truro keeper James Harmon on his six yard area, but the number-one collided with his left back and spilled the ball back into play. This allowed Dan Wooden to react quickest as the striker converted from seven yards into the bottom corner, giving his side the lead against the run of play.

This advantage was nearly doubled on 37 minutes as good passing switched the ball to find Bradley Tarbuck in acres on space. His fantastic first touch allowed him to hit a half-volley towards goal forcing Hamon into a brilliant diving stop, whilst Rory Williams’ cross down the left was narrowly missed by the onrushing Luke Hallett at the back post moments later. A final chance before the interval fell Truro’s way as a powerful drive deflected for a corner which was headed over the bar from close range; the referee blowing for the interval shortly afterwards following three minutes of additional time.

The hosts came out firing after the break and nearly equalised within 60 seconds of the restart, a pass finding Tyler Harvey who hit the woodwork from 25 yards out with his low drive. Moments later the striker found his partner Pollock, whose effort was blocked away to safety as Truro saw a succession of corners that ultimately came to nothing.  Another ambitious effort on 53 minutes saw Ryan Brett’s lob narrowly missing Albert White and the crossbar as Truro’s defence pushed ever so slightly forward; making them prone to a Gosport counter attack.

And this is how the visitors doubled their lead on 57 minutes, a long ball finding the feet of pacey winger Dembele through on goal. The attacker raced forward and took two touches before holding off his defender and calmly fired home into the bottom corner past the despairing dive of Harmon in the Truro goal. Moments later a similar attack for Gosport found the same player again, but this time saw his shot closed down by the recovering home defender as the away side looked to kill the game off.

Substitutions and an injury stoppage for Truro saw Shaun Gale switch his tactics, instead looking to protect their gained advantage rather than adding to the 2-0 score-line just after the hour mark. This was a fair approach to take as Truro arguably didn’t threaten despite another succession of corners and some harmless possession in front of the away defence, but the introduction of tricky midfielder Niall Thompson caused some issues and gave the hosts some attacking impetus with home fans behind them.

On 68 minutes the ball fell kindly to Dean lurking on the edge of the penalty area, with the midfielder seeing his curling first time effort brilliantly saved by Albert White as it looked destined for the top corner; a stop that saw the Gosport goalkeeper receive applause from the whole stadium. He then denied Thompson with a smart bock down low as he looked destined to keep a clean sheet going into the final 10 minutes of play.

With six minutes left on the clock Thompson found space after cutting inside down the right side, seeing his effort smash the post before being cleared by a Gosport defender. Luck didn’t seem to be on Truro’s side as their heads began to drop with the game petering out to what looked an inevitable conclusion, but they were boosted when they reduced arrears on the 90th minute with the referee about to order an additional seven to play following earlier stoppages. A cross into the box was headed forward by Pollock looking for somebody at the back post, but instead looped over White’s head into the top corner to give home fans a glimmer of home and spark a nervous final spell.

But despite one late chance for Cheick Diabete as he missed from the back post, Borough were able to hold onto their advantage to seal a much needed victory in the league following two clinical finishes and held a celebratory get-together before going down the tunnel. The three points means Borough remain third in the Southern League Premier after 12 games with eight wins and only three defeats so far this campaign. They will now travel to Harrow Borough on Tuesday night for their rescheduled league game due to FA Cup action last weekend, before hosting local rivals Salisbury next Saturday in the FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round at Privett Park.