By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH progressed to the next qualifying stage of the FA Cup on Wednesday evening at the second time of asking, beating Hamworthy United 4-0 in a comfortable-looking replay victory at Privett Park. The majority of the damage was completed in a blistering first half played out in thunderstorms and heavier rain showers as Gosport scored three goals without reply, before they showed professionalism and control throughout the second to finally win against stubborn opposition following Saturday afternoon’s nil-nil draw.
Gosport made a lightning start as they look an early lead within just three minutes from a deep corner, which found Andreas Robinson at the far post via a flick on and the midfielder rifled a half volley past away keeper Shane Murphy for one-nil. It could have been 2-0 minutes later as Harvey Bradbury driving wide a pass from Bradley Tarbuck down the right whilst the striker further whistled his finessed effort past the post from twenty yards; Max Wilcox driving down the other end in the visitor’s only chance during the opening fifteen minutes.
Hamworthy had a series of corners that were cleared by the home defence, which gave Borough a platform to double their advantage on twenty-three minutes; Harvey Rew collecting the ball and advancing past three defenders on his way to smashing home past Murphy at his near post. In response the visitors saw two half chances for Lee Francis and Curtis Young but couldn’t get them on target, frustration beginning to show as away defender Connor Cocklin was booked near the centre circle as proceedings passed the thirty minutes.
Subsiding rain and thunder seemed to signal a calming of momentum with the interval looming but the hosts did make it three-nil after 44 minutes on the counter; Kyal Williams running at the away defence and playing an incisive ball over to find Dan Wooden who slammed in a third. But the hosts nearly gave Hamworthy a big route back into the game in additional time as Sam Griffin got on the end of a cross but hooked wide from an angle; the referee blowing for half time shortly afterwards with the score 3-0 to the now dominant home side.
An away substitute seemed to initially solidify the visitors as they saw Cameron Munn roll a low shot at home goalkeeper Patrick O’Flaherty, before reverting back to home control and chances to add a fourth before the hour mark. Tarbuck shook the crossbar with a powerful drive from 20 yards before he heeled a pass to Harry Kavanagh to force a brilliant save from Murphy diving to his right. This set off a relentless spell of successive corners on both sides before Brendon Williams headed over from close range on 58 minutes to offer respite.
Shaun Gale seemed to make a slight tactical tweak as he brought on both Issiaga Kaba and Danny Hollands within a seven minute spell after the hour; Hamworthy also making changes as this cup tie drifted towards an inevitable conclusion. But Gosport were still in charge of the ball and probing around the away penalty area to limited avail; although Kaba was unlucky to get a touch on a low cross from Kavanagh beating his marker and Hollands saw a low shot saved by Murphy following link-up play with Rory Williams splitting the midfield.
And Gosport did get their reward on seventy-eight minutes as they killed the game off as a contest with a 4th goal; Tarbuck beating the tired looking Harvey Wright and laying his cross inside the corridor of uncertainty to find the unmarked Bradbury; who made no mistake in sliding home inside an unguarded net. The last twelve minutes were a case of damage limitation for Hamworthy as they keep the ball away from danger and won a couple of corners that ultimately came to nothing; Gosport holding on for a simple victory and a clean sheet.
Gosport will now host Paulton Rovers, another outfit from the Southern League pyramid, at home in the 2nd Qualifying Round on September 17 (Saturday); kicking off at 3pm at Privett Park. But attentions will be surely turning to this weekend’s home match versus Salisbury City with fans and media likely wanting to see a calm affair following the FA Trophy incident last autumn; whilst Shaun Gale’s team will travel to play Andover New Street next Tuesday evening, this Hampshire Senior Cup tie currently kicking off at 7:45pm at Foxcotte Park.
PICTURED BY GOSPORT BOROUGH TWITTER: Hamworthy keep ball away from home attackers late in the cup replay; which is won comfortably by Shaun Gale’s team at rain-sodden and thunder-hit Privett Park.