Gosport share spoils with Cornish Tigers

By Connor Steel

GOSPORT BOROUGH extended their unbeaten run to seven games across all competitions as they were held to a one-all draw against Cornwall-based Truro City at Privett Park. In windy conditions on Saturday it took a first half equaliser from Ryan Woodford to seal the point against the White Tigers in front of 543 supporters, with the hosts falling behind in brightening conditions after heavy lunchtime downpours.

On a heavy surface Gosport started brightly and created their first opportunity within sixty seconds as the ball was worked into the path of Harvey Rew, whose curling effort from 25 yards drifted wide with keeper Mac Chisholm scrambling. In response Truro had their opening chance moments later as Dan Rooney found space but fired his tame effort straight at Fynn Talley between the sticks.

Proceedings settled into a midfield battle with both teams guilty of playing long balls into the wind, which let down several promising attacks as the clock quietly ticked past the quarter hour mark. But Privett Park quickly roared into life on 20 minutes as a pass found AJ Harris-Sealy in space as he cut inside from the right, blazing a rising shot over the crossbar.

Truro went straight up the other end seconds later and were awarded a free-kick as Rew fouled Ryan Dickson for a yellow card tackle. Tyler Harvey stepped up and made no mistake, curling this set-piece around the Gosport wall inside the post to put the Tigers ahead. This advantage was almost doubled 29 minutes as Alex Battle’s shot was parried and Harvey hooked wide with the rebound.

The half-hour mark seemed to kick Gosport into gear and they created their best chance after thirty-three minutes as the ball found Harris-Sealey inside the box, the wingers blocked for a corner by the advancing Chisholm. But Gosport weren’t rueing missed opportunities as they equalised in the 43rd minute as Harry Kavanagh was released down the right, his cross to the back post headed home by Ryan Woodford into the top corner in the final action before the interval

The second period started quietly with Gosport dominating possession, but were snuffed any opportunities due to a combination of slow build-up play and solid away defending. This gave Truro the platform to break on the counter and Battle saw an ambitious effort from range saved easily by Talley, whilst Rio Garside’s cross evaded the unmarked Harvey in the box.

Gosport had a massive chance to take the lead on 65 minutes when Mason Walsh’s free-kick was headed onto the bar by Billie Busari, with the rebound falling kindly to Woodford who somehow missed from close range. This miss sparked substitutions for both sides with Mike Carter replacing Matt Casey for the hosts, whilst the pacey Niall Thompson entered the fray for Truro.

And the Gosport change nearly paid dividends with twenty minutes left as Carter played Dan Wooden through on goal to slot home, the referee blowing for a foul by the striker. Minutes later Harris-Sealy headed wide on the break as Ryan Pennery replaced Busari, whilst Wooden and Rew saw low efforts blocked at source by some stubborn defenders before a flurry of changes for both sides.

On 78 minutes it was Truro who had a goal disallowed as Garside headed home a cross, with the officials spotting a foul in the build up to the finish. But undeterred the Tigers went even closer with five left to play as Thompson ran through the defence and attempted to chip Talley, the goalkeeper tipping the shot away for a corner.  From this point it was all Gosport as they launched multiple crosses into the box and saw Wooden’s header cleared off the line by Rooney in stoppage time, but it wasn’t enough as the points were shared.

This frustrating stalemate means that Gosport, although remaining in the play-off places in fifth after 33 games, failed to take advantage of other results and weather-related postponements; other teams only marginally behind Shaun Gale’s team with games in hand. They will now travel away to Beaconsfield next Saturday before hosting Hendon seven days later as Borough look to get points on the board with nine matches left to play in the current 2021-22 Southern League Premier campaign.

PICTURED BY TOM PHILLIPS: Woodford wheels away after equalising at Privett Privett versus Truro City on Saturday afternoon.