By Connor Steel
Late goals from Ryan Woodford and Luke Hallett sealed the three points to maintain a play-off push at the start of a busy December, but in truth the visitors deserved more from this scrappy league encounter that was only settled in the last 15 minutes; Gosport having to show great patience and maximum effort to win.
Although Gosport had the first opportunity as Dan Wooden headed wide a cross from the left after 60 seconds, it was Wimborne who saw the much better chances of the opening 15 minutes. Jez Bedford and Alexander McBurnie both had efforts saved by Albert White, who also tipped a driving shot over the crossbar from Curtis Young from a corner. The Gosport goalkeeper performed an outstanding save to deny Louis Kelloway’s powerful volley by plucking it out of the top right corner to gain applause from the whole stadium.
Borough seemed to use these early scares to build into the game with quickfire half chances before the half hour mark; the first coming when Billie Busari squared it into the box to Mason Walsh who had an angled shot blocked at source on 26 minutes. Moments later, Matt Paterson’s shot was blocked and then calmly collected the rebound to narrowly fire over the crossbar from 12 yards, as the visitors again went close with new signing Ahkeen Rose who missed an acrobatic effort from a deep cross that evaded the defence.
Gosport continued to dominate possession going into the interval but lacked creativity or movement off the ball, which allowed the Wimborne defence to stifle any attacking threats. Both sides also saw corners that came to nothing before a home chance on 42 minutes; Mason Walsh picked up a pass and jinxed into the box before curling over the right corner in the final notable action of the half. An under-par first half soon ended goalless with the visitors no doubt the happier going into the interval following just seconds of added time.
Shawn Gale made two changes with Bradley Tarbuck and Mike Carter coming off the bench, but this didn’t make much difference at the start of the second half with both teams cancelling each other in a midfield battle. With frustration building there was a spate of yellow cards for fouls including Harry Kavanagh and Wimborne’s Harry Morgan before the visitors saw their best chance of the evening. A long ball forward found Rose as he beat the defender and fired just wide of the bottom right corner.
The hour mark appeared to spark Gosport into life with a flurry of opportunities, starting with a shot by Carter straight at Alexander Cull in Wimborne’s goal. Wash then saw his shot wide and narrowly missed a deep cross that evaded everybody in the area, whilst Luke Hallett had a goal bound effort blocked at source by captain Scott Arnold on the edge of the six yard box. Down the other end, the visitors were playing good football and Bedford looked dangerous, firing over the bar from range.
And after McBurnie’s shot for Wimbourne went wide and Hallett had a header cleared off the line in the 73rd minute, Gosport took the lead with 15 minutes left to play; Ryan Woodford heading Walsh’s set piece from the right off the bar and into the net to spark relieved celebrations. This goal was quickly followed up by a second on 78 minutes as a goalmouth scramble ended in Hallett scrambling over a defensive head; the final moments of the game fairly limited in action with the game already sealed.
The three points means Gosport stay fourth in the Southern League Premier after 19 matches in the division played for Shaun Gale’s men, who will now travel to Tiverton Town on Saturday for their next game. Borough will then play AFC Totton in a regional cup competition home encounter due to be played on Wednesday before hosting Dorchester in the league three days later on December 11. Further trips to Hendon and away at Wimborne Town conclude a festive run up to Christmas Day.
PICTURED BY TOM PHILLIPS: Cross is punched away by Cull in the Wimborne goal in a crowded penalty area