By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH FC returned to league action on Saturday afternoon after three intense weeks of cup matches and were dealt a heart-breaking defeat in Devon, losing one-nil to Truro City at Bolitho Park. And it will be a tougher pill to take for Shaun Gale’s team who deserved more for their efforts than leaving empty-handed during the ninety minutes under sunny Plymouth skies, the ‘home’ success coming from a late and harsh penalty that saw a red card to Rory Williams as the away side further fell away from the play-off spots.
Despite another long journey Gosport started in control as they dominated the lions share of the possession, creating their first chance after eight minutes as Kyal Williams broke through on goal but was stopped by the backtracking defender and the resulting corner was cleared away with relative ease. In response Truro had their opening opportunity just after the quarter hour mark, Andrew Neal finding space inside the box with his smart turn and forcing away goalkeeper Nick Harvey into his first save of the afternoon diving low to his right.
Using his dangerous pace Kyal Williams created two quick chances with good running and crossing into the box; the former finding Matt Paterson at the far post who was unable to convert from a tight angle on twenty minutes. Down the other end Truro were looking dangerous as they created another half-chance as the ball fell to Daniel Sullivan who failed with his effort as the ball sailed over the crossbar; Neal also brushing the far side netting following incisive passing down the wings on 29 minutes to end an even first half hour’s football.
The visitors were left frustrated on 33 minutes as Kyal Williams again proved problematic for the defence as he broke into the box and went down under a challenge, the referee not giving a spot-kick despite very loud appeals in a decision that sadly switched momentum to the hosts. They saw two chances before the interval as Sullivan forced Harvey into a smart save tipping the ball over the bar on 41 minutes, Neal heading wide a cross from Olive Knowles down the left as the scores remained goalless after two minutes of stoppage time.
No changes were made at the interval as Gosport created the first half chance of the 2nd period, a deflected shot from an angle by Danny Hollands going out for a corner that ultimately came to nothing. Another series of crosses came the way of the visitors with Rory Williams going close with a low free kick that was brilliantly saved by Truro goalkeeper James Hamon, who also denied a looping header from Paterson moments later; the visitors responding with two substitutions around the hour mark to reduce the visiting threat on their goal.
One of these substitutions proved to switch the momentum as Truro saw 2 quickfire openings, Matt Wright heading wide from a deep cross from Connor Riley-Lowe and then seeing a low drive blocked at source by the Gosport defender. And in another boost to the away side Billie Busari returned to the pitch on sixty-nine minutes to much applause, having recovered from his facial injury alongside an operation from a mugging earlier this summer; the winger getting a shot on target within just sixty seconds of replacing Kyal Williams.
Both sides cancelled each other out in the final twenty minutes as the game looked to end goalless, only for the late twist in stoppage time as Truro launched one last forward attack. An out-swinging cross was nodded across goal and looked to find Wright who went down two yards out, the referee deeming this a penalty and sent Rory Williams off the pitch for a last man tackle. And to rub salt in the wounds the spot kick was calmly converted past Harvey from Neal, the hosts holding on for the three points alongside a welcome clean sheet.
Following this success unbeaten Truro sit second in the Southern League with five wins and 3 draws to date, Weston-super-Mare sitting top of the table at this early stage. In contrast Gosport sit in mid-table having lost their third game of the league campaign with all three coming away from Privett Park, a run that Shaun Gale will be hoping to stop as the season continues. However 2 big home games await in the next seven days as they host Poole Town on Wednesday evening as North Leigh are scheduled to visit on October 1 (Saturday).
PICTURED BY TOM PHILLIPS: Home goalkeeper claims a catch in mid-air as Truro seal last minute victory at their current home stadium in Plymouth, offering Gosport little respite to poor away form so far in 2022-23.