Gosport comeback halts rampant Dorchester

By Connor Steel

GOSPORT BOROUGH ended their four match losing streak as they drew two-apiece with Dorchester Town on Saturday afternoon, scoring twice throughout the second half to complete a spirited comeback in front of over 740 supporters at Privett Park. And this point will feel like a victory for Shaun Gale’s team following the highly disappointing first period in which the Magpies dominated in every area to lead two-nil at the interval; Dan Wooden netting both goals whilst the hosts also saw huge chances to have won a ‘match of two halves’.

Dorchester started the better under overcast skies as they created their first chance within the fourth minute, Charlie Gunson’s deep free kick finding Keith Emmerson who flashed harmlessly over the bar from an angle. The visitors went even closer after thirteen minutes as Gunson beat two defenders at pace down the left side but saw his angled effort saved by the Gosport goalkeeper Patrick O’Flaherty, the hosts struggling to build in forward momentums during the opening fifteen minutes despite multiple teasing deliveries that were cleared.

A misjudged tackle saw a booking for Alfie Stanley with the away frustration building, only made worse when Harvey-Joe Bertrand came off worse in a fifty-fifty challenge with Rory Williams and soon had to be replaced with Keiran Douglass following unsuccessful treatment. This stoppage gave Dorchester a chance to regroup and they took the lead after 28 minutes following neat play around the box, Olaf Koszela threading an angled pass through the lines to find Stanley who made no mistake in calmly side-footing home into the right corner.

This away advantage was doubled on thirty-two minutes as Gunson smashed the crossbar after a low corner and Douglass pounced upon the loose ball, easily smashing his half volley just inside the bottom corner for a two-nil lead. This could have three on forty minutes as Stanley almost converted a sweetly driven delivery by Gunson, whilst Gosport saw Williams and Harvey Rew fire individual shots over the crossbar minutes before the break; coming after Dorchester’s Jordan Foot saw a yellow for fouling Billie Busari as he broke in attack.

Shaun Gale made a double substitution at the half time interval and this made a big impact as the hosts saw a chance missed after 48 minutes as Harry Kavanagh broke down the right and played a floated delivery into the area; Wooden rising highest but heading just off target from a tight angle. And after a period of neat one-touch possession the hosts came close to making it two-one as Bradley Tarbuck poked the ball off the away midfielder on the floor before advancing towards goal unchallenged, his low shot saved by keeper Ryan Hall.

Gosport did reduce their arrears on sixty-three minutes as Busari was released into space after his inital low cross was recycled, the second delivery met by Wooden who sent a diving header flying into the right corner for 2-1. This seemed to spark the large crowd as the stadium into life and the hosts fed on this brilliantly loud atmosphere as a quick equaliser looked on the cards; Williams’ placing a free kick under the wall only to see the effort saved by a diving Hall and Tarbuck then having his powerfully hit effort blocked by Callum Buckley.

Rory Williams was booked for a misjudged challenge in the seventy-ninth minute with the resulting set-piece headed just inches wide by Keith Emmerson, Gosport responding with Rew and Busari narrowly missing two great crosses into the box. But the home fans were celebrating on eighty-nine minutes as the team got their deserved equaliser as Wooden flicked home a header into the bottom left from Williams’ out-swinging cross; this very entertaining afternoon not marred by a scuffle that saw three bookings in the last seconds of action.

Other results mean that Gosport sit eighth from bottom in the Southern League after thirteen games and sit 7 points off the play-off places even at these early stages. Another big home match awaits Shaun Gale’s team on Wednesday when they host Harrow Borough at Privett Park in a mid-table battle before playing struggling Hendon next weekend to end October; next month beginning with another long away trip to Beaconsfield on November 5 as they look to use their 2nd half performance as momentum to kickstart their mixed campaign.

PICTURED BY TOM PHILLIPS: Even a huge last minute scuffle between two hard working teams couldn’t mar this brilliant Southern League encounter at Privett Park, which ends a losing 4-game streak for Gosport.