By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH fell to their second straight league defeat despite a spirited display at Privett Park on Wednesday evening; a defensive error leading to an one-nil loss versus promotion chasing Hayes & Yeading United. But the team can be proud of their efforts as they more than matched the opponents and created many chances, ultimately lacking the clinical finish to get something in cold conditions.
Despite Gosport making a good start with their high-pressing tactics it was actually Hayes & Yeading who took the lead after just six minutes with their first foray forward. It came from a home error at the back as a poor back-pass to Albert White was intercepted by Moses Emmanuel, who was able to walk the ball into the net after rounding the Gosport goalkeeper and holding off the defensive effort.
In response Gosport saw their first chance as Rory Williams fired over an angled free-kick after 15 minutes; two away injuries halting all momentum as Jordan Norville-Williams was booked for fouling Harvey Rew as he advanced forward. But it was the hosts who were looking better in possession as a shot from Luke Hallett was blocked at source after 21 minutes and Dan Wooden’s fired over his shot.
Although the visitors were looking dangerous with Francis Amartey outpacing Harry Kavanagh down the right, they were unable to convert this into any clear-cut opportunity as the home defence stood firm despite a number of near misses. Down the other end AJ Harris-Sealy had a curling effort saved by Hayes keeper Ravan Constable, whilst a brilliant long ball found Mason Walsh who ran into traffic.
Gosport created their best chance after 38 minutes as Walsh collected the ball on the left and played a cross into the crowded penalty area, landing on the feet of Hallett who fired wide his snapshot. In the final notable action of the first half Harris-Sealy jinxed into the box and looked to be fouled by an away defender, but the referee gave the foul the other way as he turned down loud penalty appeals.
The hosts made a bright start to the second period as they forced a mistake through Harris-Sealy and the winger broke free to play an inviting cross into the feet of Rew, who sadly ballooned his shot into the skies. Back came Hayes as Emmanuel’s pace caused problems, the winger forcing a great save by White between the home sticks before blazing a shot over the bar when well placed inside the area.
Frustration seemed to build for Gosport as manager Shaun Gale was booked for dissent and Huggins saw yellow, but didn’t stop them from creating the next chance after 65 minutes as Wooden fired an ambitious shot over from twenty-five yards. Moments later Charlie Wassmer forced another brilliant save by White from a corner before substitutions interrupted the momentum in freezing conditions.
Gosport saw their next opportunity on 72 minutes as Hallett headed inches wide from a well-played deep free kick, whilst substitute Billie Busari fired over with a low effort that missed Wooden at the back post. Hayes then saw another opportunity to double their lead as Kadell Daniel fired wide from 25 yards whilst an injury stoppage saw Oluwasanmi Odelusi stretched off to warm applause from all.
And after Ryan Pennery fired wide, the hosts nearly made all seven minutes of additional time count when they won a series of corners with the final one leading to a chance. The delivery from Williams was inch perfect and Matt Briggs’ header was blocked at source, before the rebound effort was sent in the crowd; Amartey firing over for Hayes as they held on for the victory with a clean sheet display.
Gosport have fallen to seventh place in the Southern League Premier after 27 games following other results this week, being overtaken by Yate Town who beat Tiverton 1-0. Shaun Gale’s side now face a resurgent Harrow Borough on Saturday afternoon at Privett Park, before hosting US Portsmouth four days later in the cup. Borough end January with a trip to second place Met Police at Imber Court in ten days time.
PICTURED BY TOM PHILLIPS: Gosport press for a loose ball against Hayes’ attacker on the left wing