Gosport fail to avoid Yate league double

By Connor Steel

GOSPORT BOROUGH saw further frustration on Saturday afternoon as they suffered another difficult defeat versus Yate Town at Privett Park; Kyle Tooze helping the Bluebirds ease their relegation worries with an early second half winner in their one-nil away success. But this result doesn’t tell the full story as the home strikers missed two penalties throughout the ninety minutes amongst other key chances; sending offs for both Danny Hollands and Director of Football Mark Moseley not helping the hosts as Yate survived for this crucial victory.

The visitors adjusted quicker on a sodden surface and created the first opportunity after seven minutes when debutant Leighton Thomas broke into space on the left wing; his effort beating the keeper Patrick O’Flaherty who was thankful for Harry Medway clearing off the line to keep scores level. In response a sloppy backpass by defender Darren Mullings allowed Kyal Williams to create a pocket of space for a drive that was collected easily by Martin Horsell; the shot-stopper also denying a powerful header from Issiaga Kaba on ten minutes.

Home fans were cheering after sixteen minutes when their side won a penalty; Harvey Rew advancing inside the area and being tugged down by a despairing tackle. Brett Williams soon stepped up to take this spot kick and sent it towards the bottom right corner but was denied by the gloves of Horswll with a fantastic low stop; the rebound being cleared away by Liban Ibrahim ahead of the advancing Abdulai Bell-Baggie. This missed chance signalled a lull in proceedings with Gosport’s confidence dropping against stubborn away defending.

Frustrations began to show after the half hour as Matt Briggs was booked for a late tackle on Zackary Drew as the winger curled wide from the resulting free-kick opportunity; Bradley Tarbuck also seeing yellow for his foul when chasing a loose ball in midfield. Aside from this it was a quiet conclusion to the first period as both teams saw spells of possession and saw multiple corners; quality lacking with the final pass or deliveries as proceedings continued to be consigned to the midfield third with the scores remaining goalless at half time.

It was Yate who came out better after the interval with quick passing and took a deserved lead after fifty-two minutes; an incisive passage of play finding Tooze and the striker made little mistakes in turning his markers before converting under the onrushing keeper. The shell-shocked home backline was almost breached again just moments later as Tony Raison fed through Thomas, whose scuffed effort brushed the side netting from a good angle; a deeper corner further caught comfortably by O’Flaherty under pressure of the lurking attacker.

After weathering this storm Gosport were awarded a massive chance to level the scoreline when Rew saw a shot spilled by Horsell and the Yate keeper fouled Brett Williams challenging for a loose rebound. But for the second time the shot-stopper was the away hero as he flung himself brilliantly and denied Bell-Beggie’s spot kick before Raison cleared away. And it got worse for the hosts on 68 minutes as Hollands was sent off for a late challenge, the home boss also sent to the stands after a furious reaction to the referee’s harsh decision.

Substitutions across both teams followed this moment of tension and Gosport saw two late opportunities with Billie Busari looking particularly dangerous with extra pace; the winger feeding Kyal Williams who side-footed wide from an angle before his curling effort flashed over the crossbar with Horsell scrambling to cover the far post. Down the other end Tom Richards saw a last chance to double Yate’s lead as he cut down the right and saw his effort blocked at source; his team otherwise defending as they confirmed all the three points on offer.

Combined with other results on a weather affected Saturday, Gosport have slipped to seventh from bottom in the Southern Premier after fifteen losses in 24 matches to date; the away success helping Yate leapfrog their hosts in the league. Mark Moseley’s side will look to register their opening victory since early-December next Saturday as they travel for a tie against rivals Salisbury before hosting Hayes & Yeading on January 28; their planned midweek tie at Swindon Supermarine being postponed until mid-March due to a regional cup match.

PICTURED BY TOM PHILLIPS: Eyes on the ball as Gosport and Yate compete in previous league encounter from late April 2022; which saw the visitors seal a two-one win at Lodge Road to conclude Southern Premier.