GOSPORT BOROUGH slipped to their first defeat of ‘pre-season’ as they hosted Portsmouth on Friday evening, losing three-one against their local rivals at the AEI Stadium. But the scoreline does not tell the whole story as the home team put in a brilliant performance on the night with the single difference being two very late finishes from the clinical visitors.
In stormy conditions Borough started brightly and scored within twelve minutes when Rafa Ramos calmly slotted home from Bradley Tarbuck’s cut-back; only to see his celebrations cut short by the offside flag. This allowed Pompey to truly settle as they enjoyed a period of possession, which ended in Koby Mottoh blasting his powerful effort harmlessly over.
The first goal arrived in the nineteenth minute as Tarbuck was found in space and fired his low effort from a tight angle; away goalkeeper Will Norris only able to parry back into the danger area with Ramos left to fire home into the net. Dan Wooden further went close before the half hour as he rose to meet Harvey Rew’s cross; this header just dropping wide.
Portsmouth began to assert control on possession and this helped them to create two brilliant chances to equalise; the home goalkeeper Callum Smart denying both Mottoh and Anthony Scully with a superb double save. But their pressure paid off after being denied a spot-kick as Joe Morrell bent a curling shot that nestled in the left corner, making it one-all.
Heavy drizzle made conditions difficult as Gosport made multiple changes at the interval; Portsmouth again dominating the possession but were dealt a blow when Josh Dockerill was stretched off with a nasty injury in the 52nd minute. But they didn’t let this deter them as Scully hit a low shot that was saved by the trialist keeper’s diving boot at his right side.
The hosts responded brilliantly and should have retaken the lead after sixty-one minutes when great interplay released Tarbuck, who cut inside and cannoned the woodwork with a side-footed shot from twenty yards. Two trialists then went even closer to giving Gosport the lead, one forcing a fine stop from Norris before another hit the bar with a driven effort.
Further substitutions and tired legs signalled a lull as the game reached its climax, Portsmouth taking the lead with two minutes left when Harvey Jewitt-White bundled home a corner from Harvey Laidlaw. And a three-one win was secured when Destiny Ojo was released through on goal and he made no mistakes slotting home in the final action of the night.
Positives should be taken from this display despite a defeat for Gosport against higher opposition; the hosts more than matching their opponents for 88 minutes. Their next game is another pre-season encounter versus Fleetlands, which is due to take place on Wednesday (July 19) as preparation continue for the 2023/24 campaign which starts on August 5.
PICTURED BY PORTSMOUTH FC: Sliding tackle denies an attack as drizzle does not dampen spirits at AEI Stadium.