By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH suffered yet another away defeat on Tuesday evening as they travelled up to Surrey, losing two-one against Met Police in their latest Southern League encounter at Imber Court. But there will be positives to take for Shaun Gale’s team despite falling to a third straight loss in just seven days as the visiting side created multiple chances and saw large periods of attacking play throughout the ninety minutes, only for the hosts to score in either half to ensure a hard-fought midweek victory after their own cup disappointments.
In dry but foggy and chilly conditions it was an even start from both outfits in terms of early possession with a Gosport chance coming in the eighth minute; Danny Hollands falling over inside the area as his loud penalty appeals were rejected by the referee. Undeterred the visitors found a variety of successes down both flanks as Billie Busari drove wide from distance moments later, whilst Abdulai Bell-Baggie saw his low effort take a deflection before it was cleared away to safety by the home defence; the visitors looking more likely to score.
However it was actually Met Police who opened the scoring on 18 minutes following a loss of communication within the Borough defence that was eventually cleared for a corner, the delivery from Richard Afrane-Kesey met by a rising Lewis Birch who headed home past Patrick O’Flaherty into the top corner for 1-0. Frustration almost boiled over on twenty-three minutes as a late tackle on Busari halted a great counter attack, tensions seeing a flashpoint that ended with Harvey Rew and Shaun Gale receiving bookings following heated words.
Proceedings passed the thirty minute mark without further incident as the visitors dominated the ball, seeing Bell-Baggie straight at Met Police goalkeeper Liam Beach with his rebound being ruled offside; Dan Wooden narrowly firing wide from the winger’s cross after 41 minutes. The striker furthermore had an effort brush the side netting from 18 yards after good midfield build-up and was just inches away from converting a cross by Busari down the right, but Gosport trailed at the interval despite all of the chances in this period of pressure.
The visitors continued this upon the restart as Wooden pounced on a mistake and only a defender’s header for a corner denied the equaliser, which did arrive on fifty-five minutes after this constant wave of attacks. It came as Busari and Ryan Woodward linked up to find Wooden who made no mistake in spinning a defender before firing home into the corner, a fine leveller that seemed to ease away tension dramatically. In response Met Police had a succession of corners that came to nothing either side of the hour mark with scores equal.
An attacking substitution seemed to push Met Police further forward and this saw the eventual winner within the 71st minute, which came after both Wooden and Rew had gone close down the other end. Archie Taylor broke free and saw his low effort parried away by O’Flaherty from an angle with this effort happily converted into the open goal by Jasper Mather on the rebound; making it two-one to the hosts. Shaun Gale responded by making two substitutions including strikers up front, which almost worked as Matt Paterson fired just wide.
Although temperatures decreased in the sky they were certainly increasing on the pitch as another flashpoint came on 81 minutes following a debatable decision, the referee forced to speak to the away bench and soon sent off assistant coach Jake Wigley to the stands after an heated exchange. This overshadowed the last 10 minutes and additional time despite the visitors sending multiple balls into the area in search of an equaliser; Met Police hanging on with stubborn blocks and many brilliant clearances to collect all three points available.
Met Police have leapfrogged Gosport in the Southern League with the victory and now face a seven day rest before hosting Poole Town next Tuesday; their original game on Saturday postponed due to FA Cup ties for a range of other league teams. In contrast Gosport have lost six from their first 11 matches this season and sit midtable after an inconsistent start and they will hope to recover in another away game versus Hanwell Town on October 15, before playing Dorchester Town and Harrow Borough in 2 huge home clashes at Privett Park.
PICTURED BY GR TOURIST: Quick-thinking away defender blocks a pass from pacey Met Police attackers as Gosport fall to a disappointing third straight defeat away from Privett Park on Tuesday evening in Surrey.