By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH continued their awful run of league form as they travelled away to struggling Hendon on Saturday afternoon, losing two-nil in the capital following another disappointing performance. Two 1st half goals set the Greens on their way before showing game management tactics to seal the 3 points and moved themselves out of the automatic relegation spots; also piling further pressure on Shaun Gale who will now be missing two players after Danny Hollands and Harvey Rew both saw sending offs from this feisty 90 minutes.
It didn’t start brilliantly for the visitors who were extremely sloppy in the opening exchanges as they gave the ball away multiple times; Hendon taking advantage of nerves in the away backline as they scored within four minutes. It came as Rohdell Gordon found a pocket and played a pass into the feet of captain Joesph White, who beat Gosport goalkeeper Patrick O’Flaherty with a deftly hit effort that nestled into the bottom left corner for one-nil; Dan Wooden flashing wide in anger as his side looked for a quick fire equaliser ten minutes later.
The hosts were dominating the chances as Robbie Buchanan dragged wide on eighteen minutes with White forcing O’Flaherty into a low save moments later as away defenders struggled to cope in the face of physical attacking play. This was evident when a Hendon counter attack released Rohdell who quickly advanced into space and found Alfred Bawling unmarked, the striker miscuing his driven effort off a defender; Arthur Iontton slotting wide from ten yards on 28 minutes from the resulting corner that was only half-heartily cleared away.
But the Greens weren’t rueing this missed opportunity on thirty-one minutes as they extended their lead with Rohdell again involved as he beat two defenders and floated a deep corner to the back post; Dave Diedhiou rising highest and nodding home to mark his 400th club appearance with a goal. And this may have been 3-0 on 44 minutes when the right back played a cleared ball that reached White who fired over; Borough creating their best chance in stoppage time when Billie Busari flicked the far side netting with his placed angled effort.
In fairness the visitors started quickly after the half time break with Harvey Jewitt-White forcing new Hendon goalkeeper Dante Baptiste into a brilliant save as Bradley Tarbuck was beaten to the inviting rebound; Harry Kavanagh particularly looking dangerous in a more attacking role down the right side. But this switch in away momentum saw many over eager challenges in haste that resulted in the first red card for Gosport; Hollands tugging back Gordon in midfield and saw his second booking to go with his 1st yellow for a misjudged tackle.
Despite having a numerical disadvantage the visitors initially reacted fairly well to the red card as Busari and Wooden linked up with the latter driving wide, Samuel Magri creating an extra pocket of space but his driven shot drifted harmlessly over from twenty five yards out. Down the other end Tanik Moore-Azille played a fine ball through to White who could only tamely shoot straight at O’Flaherty, whilst Bawling was shown a yellow for a niggly tackle on Finley Walsh-Smith as the pair challenged for a loose ball inside the away penalty area.
Any hopes of a brilliant away comeback were destroyed with twenty minutes left as the visitors were reduced to nine men on the pitch following another red card; Rew shown his marching orders for a last man tackle on Rohdell as the winger broke free down the left. It was a decision that saw little protesting but ultimately killed the game as it drifted towards its now inevitable conclusion; substitutions from both outfits adding stoppages that helped Hendon defend their lead with ease and clinch a rare clean sheet in their mixed 2022-23 season.
Three points and other results mean Hendon sit third-from-bottom after twelve matches, closing to five points behind Gosport currently winless across their last seven games from all competitions since their victory over North Leigh four weeks ago; their only win from their previous twelve with ten losses and one draw. This is a truly shocking run of form that has seen any play-off hopes slide away following a relatively positive opening seven games, something which Shaun Gale will hope to get a chance of rectifying at Beaconsfield on 05/11.
PICTURED BY DBEECH PHOTOGRAPHY: Dave Diedhiou rises highest after thirty-one minutes and heads home into the top corner for Hendon’s second goal, capping off his personal landmark of 400 games in style.