Gosport reinforce title ambitions with Hendon success

By Connor Steel

GOSPORT BOROUGH completed a third successive victory in the Southern League Premier as they narrowly beat ten men Hendon on Saturday afternoon; sealing a ‘hard-fought’ two-one home success over their North London opponents in front of over eight hundred supporters as both sides paid an outstanding tribute to fallen personnel on Armistice Day.

It was a cagey start under sunny skies with Borough seeing the first opportunity after eight minutes as Jake Scrimshaw was fouled in the box by a defender; the referee awarding a penalty that was blasted into the far post by Rory Williams. This was followed by Scrimshaw’s angled volleyed effort being brilliantly saved by the Hendon keeper Matthew Kerbey.

Hendon absorbed the early pressure and slowly worked themselves into proceedings with Ethan Light slicing over from an angle on twenty-three minutes; Lucas Perry sending a free-kick harmlessly wide soon afterwards. But the away side did take the lead after the half hour as a clever set piece found Olatunbosun Adenola, who calmly tapped into the goal.

The hosts weren’t trailing for long and they levelled on forty minutes through Alex Barsa, who converted a long ball with a brilliantly struck volley inside the bottom left corner from a tight angle. And there was further drama before the interval as Hendon were reduced to 10 men in added time; Hamza Bin-Semakula seeing red for a late foul on Danny Hollands.

Borough came out strongly upon the restart, and saw Scrimshaw threaten with his headed effort that drifted over under pressure, whilst Dan Wooden drove straight at the keeper from range on 53 minutes. But Hollands wasn’t to be denied ninety seconds later with a ‘thunderous’ volley that nestled into the top right corner following a partially-cleared delivery.

This signalled a period of dominance for Gosport in which they should have extended their advantage; Bradley Tarbuck going closest when he beat a defender on the spin and hit the near post with his fierce shot just after the hour. Wooden later saw a header caught by Kerbey and Harry Medway somehow didn’t net from six yards with an empty goal gaping.

Substitutions across both sides disrupted any attacking momentum in the last ten minutes as Gosport again went close through Ashley Akpan, who cut inside and saw his curling drive tipped wide by Kerbey. And the home outfit were nearly punished in additional time as Dave Diedhiou nodded over a free-kick; eventually holding on for another narrow victory.

Other results on Saturday mean that Gosport remain second in the ‘table’ after fifteen matches and their next game will see them travel to 3rd place Chesham United next weekend. They will then return to the AEI Stadium for November 25 to host bottom side Didcot Town, before playing Hanwell four days later in a re-arranged fixture after earlier cup games.

PICTURED BY JAMES MCINTOSH: Both sides pay moving tribute to fallen personnel before kick-off on Armistice Day.