By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH maintained their place at the Southern League Premier “summit” as they played struggling side Tiverton Town on Saturday afternoon; confirming their first league victory since late September as they sealed a narrow two-one home success over their visitors in front of over seven hundred supporters at the wet and breezy AEI Stadium.
The hosts started brightly under overcast skies and created the first notable chances as Kurtis Cumberbatch’s low shot was deflected out for a corner whilst Charlie Wassmer flicked against the crossbar from a delicious cross by Alex Barsa within 10 minutes. Down the other end Tiverton saw Niall Thompson cut inside on the left and hit straight at the keeper.
Tiverton were soon celebrating a goal after fifteen minutes as an interception fell into the path of Carlo Garside and the midfielder sent a skidding drive inside the bottom corner for one nil. And their lead should have been doubled moments later as Thompson linked up with River Allen; the former’s powerful strike parried away by home keeper Toby Steward.
Proceedings passed the half hour mark without further incident as Gosport patiently tried to break through the stubborn Tiverton defence, which proved difficult in heavy downpours of rain despite an effort for both Dan Wooden and Barsa in quick succession that flew wide. And the home side struggled to build any momentum as they entered half time behind.
Borough made a ‘tweak’ at the interval with Antonio Diaz replacing Kurtis Cumberbatch in midfield but this did not have an immediate impact as Cameron Salmon sliced wide within sixty seconds of the restart. But the home side did get the reward on fifty-five minutes through Danny Hollands who ran onto a clearance and rocketed into the net from 25 yards.
Thompson and Ashley Akpan then traded attempts down either end before the next big chance on sixty-five minutes for Gosport; debutant Jake Scrimshaw having a shot on target that was brilliantly saved by Tiverton keeper Lewis Williams at the left post. Substitutions then followed for both sides and this sadly halted momentum entering the last 20 minutes.
The eventual winner for Gosport came in the 72nd minute through an unlikely hero; Harry Medway reacting quickest to guide into the empty net after Wassmar flicked a corner into his path. And the hosts held on despite sustained pressure from Tiverton as they pushed for a point; Thomas Bath sending wide two drives as Allen scrambled over in added time.
Other results mean that leaders Gosport have extended their advantage to two points over their “bitter rivals” Salisbury after thirteen games, although teams behind them have played one less match. Another league encounter awaits Boro’ as they travel to Beaconsfield on Tuesday evening, before they visit Bognor Regis next weekend in the FA Trophy 1RP.
PICTURED BY VIC CURTIS: Tiverton player tries to outrun the Gosport defender as fans take shelter from heavy rain.