By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH’S league unbeaten run was simply destroyed on Saturday afternoon and play-off hopes severely dented, falling to a seven-two loss against eleventh placed side Beaconsfield Town at Holloways Park. In bright sunny conditions the hosts were outstanding in attack with Ollie McCoy scoring a second-half hat-trick to add to Nathan Minhas’ double before the break; both Dan Wooden and Matt Paterson scoring consolations goals for the 10 men visitors who also saw midfielder Luke Hallett sent off for two yellow cards at a key point in proceedings.
Shaun Gale’s team started the afternoon well as they created the first half chance as Mason Walsh’s floated cross found the advancing Wooden, whose low effort was blocked at source by a home defender. On eleven minutes Harry Kavanagh was allowed space down the right wing and his cut-back found Billie Busari, whose shot drifted harmlessly wide from 25 yards. Down the other end Beaconsfield had chances through Minhas as the striker’s angled effort was saved easily by away keeper Fynn Talley, whilst defender Liam McDevitt headed over a deep corner minutes later.
Beaconsfield took the lead after twenty-two minutes as the ball was worked into McCoy’s left foot twenty-yards out, his shot parried out of the right corner by Talley at his far post. But the Gosport defence were slow to react and allowed Minhas to slot home into the unguarded net from close range. The striker then doubled his tally on the half hour mark as he calmly won a long pass forward that deceived the away backline, before cutting inside and firing a low shot inside the bottom corner despite Talley’s best efforts, sparking huge celebrations for the hosts at their sudden two goal advantage.
And it did get better for Beaconsfield following chances for Wooden and Ryan Pennery down the other end, the hosts winning a penalty as good interplay released pacey Kaine-Kennedy Sinclair inside the box and he was fouled by a Gosport defender when preparing for a pass. Up stepped Scott Donnelly and he made no mistake in sending Talley the wrong way for 3-0 on 45 minutes; with additional time seeing Mike Carter firing over the crossbar for the visitors and Donnelly forcing a brilliant save by the Gosport keeper as he tipped over a dipping shot.
Gosport started brightly in the second half with Elliot Wheeler replacing Busari at the break, his cross finding Hallett who headed over the crossbar just sixty seconds after the restart. In the fifty-fifth minute a good pass created space for Kavanagh, whose curving shot was well saved by Beaconsfield keeper Ryan Hall who plucked the ball out of the corner. But Gosport did score just after the hour mark as Kavanagh turned provider, his free kick nestling into the net with Wooden simply getting a faint touch to guide it past defensive efforts on the goal-line as the hosts’ clean sheet disappeared.
This goal gave Gosport some much needed hope of a comeback, which quickly ebbed away as substitutions for both sides disrupted the play and the visitors’ frustrations were worsened by a red card; Hallett’s late tackle seeing him get a second yellow with 19 minutes left. This Beaconsfield advantage opened up space behind the defence as McCoy made it 4-1 with a calm finish after showing good footwork to deceive Gosport players. The same player added his second as he got the final touch as pinball around the penalty area fell kindly into his feet with eleven minutes left to play.
Beaconsfield made it six-one on 82 minutes with a fine individual goal from Kennedy-Sinclair as he cut inside and fired home into the corner, before McCoy confirmed his treble with the hosts’ seventh goal in their last attack as he slotted past the advancing Talley from an angle. Gosport did at least score a second in stoppage time as incisive passing found substitute Paterson on the edge of the box to fire home a superb curling effort past Hall; offering his wounded side a mere consolation in an absolutely forgettable performance and awful result for the play-off hopefuls.
Coupled with a victory for Chesham over Hartley Wintney, this large margin of defeat means Gosport have fallen out of the play-offs and now sit sixth in the Southern League table after 34 games played this season. They will look to bounce back to winning ways next Saturday with Hendon set to visit Privett Park before a trip to bottom-side Merthyr Town on March 19 after a two week break. Borough will then end March with a home clash against Taunton Town before a busy April that concludes the campaign.
PICTURED BY BEACONSFIELD TOWN FC MEDIA: Red card shown to Luke Hallett, a decision that proved to kill the game as hosts scored four further goals to win seven-two versus Gosport.