By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH extended their winless streak to nine league matches on Saturday afternoon as they hosted high-flying Chesham United, losing three-two against the Generals at a packed Privett Park. All of the five goals came in a brilliant second half after a goalless first period as the hosts gave a professional account of themselves and looked to have secured a deserved point; only to suffer late heartbreak as the away team confirmed three points and a league double over their host by scoring a late winner deep into additional time.
Chesham started quicker on a bobbly surface with some neat interplay and felt they should have been given a penalty after just three minutes; Kennedy Feyi turning his man and falling down after a fifty-fifty tackle with appeals turned down by referee Daniel Austin. In response Gosport deployed their high pressing tactics and this nearly paid dividends when Dan Wooden nicked the ball off an away defender; playing a threaded pass to find debutant Brett Williams who sliced wide of the netting after rounding the goalkeeper Samuel Beasant.
Despite this brilliant opening it was the visitors who were dominating possession as they saw their first effort on target in the seventeenth minute; Frankie Sutherland’s long range shot being well saved by home keeper Callum Smart who replaced an injured Patrick O’Flaherty between the sticks. But Gosport were looking very dangerous on the counter attack with Billie Busari overrunning a deep pass down the right on 22 minutes; an injury to Rory Williams preceding another stoppage due to the officials being displeased with the match-balls.
Proceedings passed the half hour without further incident before a key opportunity fell the way of Gosport on thirty-six minutes as Bradley Tarbuck was played through on goal only to send his shot past the far right post; Williams again going close with a powerful strike that drifted wide sixty seconds later. Home momentum was however halted as Harry Kavanagh suffered an injury and was replaced with Abdulai Bell-Baggie; the visitors nearly taking advantage in stoppage time as Jordan Gibbons was denied by Smart to keep the scores at 0-0.
There was no sudden burst of energy from either outfit upon restarting with Chesham creating a first notable attack after fifty-three minutes; a combination of Smart and Ryan Woodford denying Antoine Makoli’s header at the back post that was eventually cleared off the line. Another dangerous period of away possession soon followed but it was actually the hosts who took the lead on the hour after loud penalty appeals; Brett Williams simply tapping home a cross from Bell-Baggie down the left as Chesham only cleared the ball partially away.
But cheers turned to silence just seventy seconds later as Chesham levelled the scoreline through Feyi, who collected an airborne pass before slamming past Smart into the bottom corner for 1-1. Another niggling injury saw Rory Williams replaced by Finn Walsh-Smith as the stubborn home defenders absorbed quicker passing before launching a counter attack resulting in a set-piece after Alison Ferreira was booked; Tarbuck stepping up and sending his curling effort towards the right corner before the gloves of Beasant smartly tipped it away.
This missed opportunity was punished by Tobias Braney on eighty minutes when the ball was played into his path in the area, the striker spinning his marker and sending his crisp effort into the left corner. To their credit Gosport never gave up and equalised at two-all on 86 minutes as Kyal Williams jinxed towards goal and sent his shot home via a slight deflection from Wooden; which wasn’t enough to get a deserved draw as Shaquille Hippolyte Patrick exchanged a pass with Feyi before flatfooting the defence and angling home inside the net.
Other results mean that Chesham remain third within the Southern League table and comfortably in the play-off spots with their tenth victory this campaign. In contrast Gosport have fallen to fourth from bottom and look to be facing a tough relegation battle going into a busy period of must win matches, which start with an away trip to Yate Town next weekend before hosting Tiverton Town on December 3 (kicks off at 12:30pm). But this attention must turn to their Portsmouth Senior Cup title defence when they host Locks Heath on Wednesday.
PICTURED BY TOM PHILLIPS: Abdulai Bell-Baggie moves forward inside dangerous away territory during a goal-packed second half as visitors score late winner in dying moments to seal a 3-2 success at Privett Park.