Gosport exit FA Cup with Yate defeat

By Connor Steel / Photograph by Tom Phillips

GOSPORT BOROUGH exited England’s most famous knockout competition on Saturday afternoon, losing two-nil in Bristol versus Yate Town; who avenged last week’s league defeat by sending their visitors out of the FA Cup at Lodge Road.

A second half double from David Sims-Burgess condemned Boro’ to only their third loss of the campaign in all competitions, with an early red card ruining the game plan and home pressure finally paying off in mixed weather conditions throughout the 90 minutes.

Kicking off in bright warm sunshine, Gosport started well as they dominated possession and stuck to the tactical game plan set-out by manager Shaun Gale, which simply came undone after Harvey Rew had shot harmlessly wide from 30 yards following good interplay after seven minutes. A long and seemingly innocuous pass over the top caused chaos in the away backline, with Albert White and Elliot Wheeler suffering a miscommunication that allowed Ricardo Rees to capitalise on the loose ball. In a desperate attempt to stop the Bluebells’ striker, the Gosport defender fouled his man and saw red from the referee for denying a goalscoring opportunity – a decision that pleased Yate and caused huge protests amongst the away contingent of staff.

Although Rees and Joseph Hall went close for the hosts, Gosport to their credit adapted well to their numerical disadvantage with Joe Lea dropping back to fill the vacant right back position. They did a great job in absorbing the home pressure which only yielded one notable opportunity as Yate’s Samuel Kamara’s effort rolled centimetres past the post after Lea’s last ditch tackle on 37 minutes. A final chance before the break fell Gosport’s way as Theo Lewis’ shot drifted wide following a great pass forward by Rory Williams down the left channel; the score staying goalless at the interval with Yate arguably on top despite a valiant Boro’ rear-guard after the red card.

With the words of Gale ringing in their ears Gosport came out looking sharp in the second half; almost taking a lead after one minute. Great work down the right from pacey Nicky Dembele saw space open and the winger found Lea with the ball falling kindly, but the stand-in right back’s low angled effort was saved by Yate keeper Andrew Hannah at his near post. Five minutes later a shot by Theo Widdrington floated over the crossbar whilst a succession of away corners weren’t converted and were well defended by the home defence.

This stubborn backline gave Yate their platform to attack and they were awarded a penalty in the 57th minute as Harvey Rew mistimed a tackle inside the area.  Up stepped Sims-Burgess with the home crowd cheering behind the goal; smashing the ball powerfully down the middle despite White getting a touch diving to his right. It was a finish that saw Borough make changes as Pat Suraci and Jake Wright coming on the pitch, but they were unable to really halt the home momentum as the heavens opened with heavy rain in the final 20 minutes.

Yate got the second goal that ended this game as a contest, doubling their advantage after 73 minutes. Good passing down the right stretched the tiring Borough defence saw the ball reach Sims-Burgess in space, with the striker unleashing a shot that seemed to quicken on the wet surface and it bounced into the corner beating a despairing hand of White. With the two goal lead Yate looked to protect their clean-sheet and dropped back slightly, which allowed two late opportunities for Gosport in the final minutes. However efforts from both Dembele and Suraci were easily gathered by Hannah between the Yate sticks, with a clean sheet and Gosport’s exit from the FA Cup confirmed shortly afterwards with the referee’s final whistle.

Following their League Challenge Cup exit against Winchester ten days ago, any chance of knockout glory will rely on the Hampshire Senior Cup game at Privett Park on Wednesday night. They will play Southern League South Division One side Sholing, who are unbeaten this campaign after nine games including 8 wins and are in the hat for the FA Cup Third Round Qualifying round on Monday. Borough will then play Tiverton Town on Saturday afternoon (September 25), before they host Wimborne Town the following Wednesday under the midweek lights of Privett Park.