By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH fell to their first home defeat of the 2022-23 campaign on Wednesday as they hosted Poole Town, narrowly losing two-one against the Dolphins in dry chilly conditions at Privett Park. And to their credit it was the perfect away performance by the visitors as they scored an early goal to silence a big crowd of 680 supporters before hitting the defence on a counter attack late on; the hosts lacking any spark and the creative mindset to muster chances throughout the game except the final minutes when it was sadly too late.
The Dolphins started brighter in possession with two half opportunities within the opening four minutes, Jack Dickson and Tobias Holmes both seeing low efforts fly wide of the post following neat interplay. Their closest chance came on ten minutes as Jake Andrews curled over from twenty-five yards whilst Tony Lee saw a long range angled drive saved by the diving Gosport goalkeeper Nick Harvey down low at his near post; the hosts simply dominated by the organised Dolphins who were causing issues with their rotating 3 up-front attackers.
Pressure finally told for the visitors on eighteen minutes as they took a deserved lead with Luke Pardoe able to run through midfield and smash the crossbar with a powerful effort; the rebound falling kindly to the lurking Wes Fogden who made no mistake in turning the ball home from 6 yards into an unguarded net. In response Gosport looked to attack with Harry Kavanagh’s floated pass almost finding an onrushing Harvey Bradbury in space; home frustration building as Matt Paterson saw yellow for a late foul in front of the official on half-way.
A flurry of bookings then followed across both teams for petty behaviour and misjudged fouls as Gosport had more possession in the final third, leading to yet another unconverted opening after 35 minutes when a cross from Harvey Rew narrowly avoided two advancing attackers. Moments later Paterson then saw his 1st effort in anger for the home side as he fired wide from an Andreas Robinson pass, whilst the striker further had his goal disallowed in additional time after a late foul in the air as Gosport entered the half time break 1-0 down.
Shaun Gale’s team came out well upon the restart as Rory Williams drove on goal but saw his low effort skid comfortably into the gloves of away keeper Luke Cairney. A series of corners were also cleared well away by a stubborn Poole defence with captain Jamie Whisken leading the way; the centre back reacting brilliantly to clear Dan Wooden’s shot off the line. Down the other end a long ball was only partially cleared to find Corby Moore, whose lob from 40 yards was headed away by Matt Briggs in a slow motion heart-in-mouth moment.
The Dolphins went even closer on sixty-three minutes as Lee was allowed space to run at the defenders and turned Brendan Willson for pace, the home keeper Harvey having to dive to his right and tipping the striker’s shot away to safety. A potential spark came in the form of Billie Busari and Danny Hollands as the latter soon scuffed a shot at the back post, the referee soon providing a moment of comedic unity as he slipped on the dew-covered surface whilst runing to the halfway line after the ball had gone out for a goal kick for Gosport.
With the hosts chasing an equaliser it left extra space that the Dolphins exploited to full effect on eighty-three minutes, Lee holding off the defensive challenges and powerfully driving home into the bottom right corner to cap a perfect away performance. Gosport fans were given some hopes when Rew latched onto 2 scrambles in the box and converted the loose ball into the net for two-one, but they were ultimately disappointed at the end despite a late chance for Kyal Williams who saw his shot deflected into the bus located behind the goal.
This defeat ends a difficult month for Gosport with just one victory from seven matches alongside exits from two cup competitions and three straight defeats. A fresh start is needed and Shaun Gale’s team won’t have long for their next opportunity to rectify this damaging form, with North Leigh scheduled to visit Privett Park on Saturday afternoon with a 3pm kick-off. Then comes 2 successive away league games against Hayes & Yeading and Met Police over the next two midweeks, sandwiching a trip to Bristol Manor Farm (FA Trophy).
PICTURED BY CLIFF PLEDGE: Home corner ends in frustration for majority of supporters on Wednesday night as Poole beat Gosport two-one, consigning Shaun Gale’s side to first home loss this 2022-23 season.