Gosport conclude campaign with heavy Navy loss

By Connor Steel

GOSPORT BOROUGH concluded their 2023/24 season with a harsh loss as they faced Royal Navy in the ‘Portsmouth Senior Cup’ final on Wednesday night; eventually falling five-one versus their experienced opponents despite a spirited and promising display from a young Under 18s side in front of approximately four hundred fans at a ‘dry’ PMC Stadium.

It was a cagey start for both teams as the Navy dominated early possession and they saw this evening’s first chance in the eighth minute; Danny Keer collecting the ball before driving wide of the far post. This was followed up by Sol Roche having his effort blocked at source by a Borough defender, whilst Peter Bradley’s ball evaded the striker on 15 minutes.

This constant momentum finally told as Manny Roche’s run was stopped inside the area for a Navy penalty; which was converted in style by Keer for 1-0. The advantage should have been doubled before the half hour mark when a low ball was met by Roche at the back post, but the attacker could sadly only place at the Gosport goalkeeper ‘under pressure’.

Borough were however not to be underestimated and they found an equaliser before half time; a shot beating the Navy goalkeeper for ‘power and accuracy’ to make it 1-1. And it may have been two-one for the young Gosport team as Kian Towse advanced down the left to feed Max Blake, whose angled shot smashed the far post before being cleared away.

This military outfit seemed to ‘push forward’ upon the restart and they made it two-one early into the second period; Sol Roche collecting a neat pass and then converting past James Engelan-Jenson with a calm drive. It was three-one soon after as Elliott Holmes pounced upon a pass and then proceeded to catch the shotstopper out; the drive nestling home.

Towse and Bobby Tudway went close for Gosport in quick succession after the hour mark; but any hope of a comeback was ended with the Navy’s fourth goal. It came from the unusal source as their keeper Laurence McCormick took a fast indirect free-kick inside the own area and the ball sailed into the net down the other end which left everyone in surprise.

Substitutions followed across both teams in the final twenty minutes, but in truth this game appeared to drift towards its invetiable conclusion at four-one despite some set-piece opportunities. There was one goal left to come before the end and it came for the Navy as Jake Walker drilled past ngelan-Jenson into the corner, confirming his side as ‘champions’.

Ultimately it has been a great season for Gosport as they exceeded expectations in the league and lost in the play-offs due to a controversial decision, whilst their young team were simply beaten by a better team in the final. Work will now turn to next season with fixtures, signings, and friendlies due to be announced over the next few weeks within the club.

PICTURED BY M&J PHOTOGRAPHY: Gosport attacker manages to get a shot towards goal despite defensive efforts.