GOSPORT BOROUGH’S winning streak came to an unfortunate end in a midweek stalemate on Tuesday evening, with Shawn Gale’s side forced to settle for an away goalless draw versus Swindon Supermarine under the lights at the Webbsward Stadium.
Although not the win that fans and staff were hoping for, it was a hard-earned point that keeps Borough in second place and extends their unbeaten run in the Southern League to five games since their defeat to Walton Casuals back on August 17 before their FA Cup journey continues this weekend.
Although Borough started well and saw many attacking breaks, they lacked the final pass in the opening moments; with the first real chance coming for Supermarine as captain Mat Liddiard forced a good save from away keeper Albert White from a corner after 11 minutes. Down the other end Gosport came close to taking the lead themselves with the returning Rory Williams’ long range effort seeing home stopper Martin Horsell into a save by tipping over the crossbar. Dan Wooden and Joe Lea also had opportunities in a spell of dominance by the visitors as they pushed for the first goal.
But Supermarine were looking dangerous on the counter-attack as Lewis Hall created space down the left and crossed into David Pratt, whose looping header landed on the roof of the net. This chance was followed by White easily gathering a 30-yarder from Connor McDonagh, whilst the home side were denied a penalty on 33 minutes. Hall was set up down the left and ran inside the box, before being clipped by a covering Gosport defender, many agreeing it would have been harsh to give a spot kick The final 10 minutes of the first half were fairly limited in terms of notable action, although Nicky Dembele fired wide from an angle under pressure from the home defence.
Gosport were forced into an early substitution in the second period with Matt Casey replacing Matt Briggs in the backline as Harvey Rew’s cross down the left only missed Wooden’s head by inches inside the penalty area. Fellow substitute Pat Suraci then tried to curl a shot into the corner but found the gloves of Horsell, before Theo Widdrington fired wide from 25 yards when well placed on 59 minutes.
In response to a spell of good away pressure, Supermarine made a changes on the hour mark, Chris Zebroski replacing Pratt and immediately going close as he forced a low save from White. Gosport made their final chance as Theo Lewis was swapped on for Dan Wooden on 68 minutes, with the attacking midfielder looking energetic and showing efforts that couldn’t quite make a difference to the score, Luke Hallett seeing a shot blocked at source by a home defender in arguably the visitors’ final chance of the 90 minutes.
With 15 minutes left to play, Supermarine had their second penalty appeal turned down by the referee. Hall was involved again as he appeared to be blocked with a shot imminent and went down but the referee deemed it a fair tackle with the home fans frustrated behind the goal at what they felt was a ‘strong appeal’. Zebroski and winger Ryan Campbell then went close for Swindon as the visitors’ looked to settle for a point; with Gosport breaking up any dangerous play and winning second balls in the final minutes to gain a clean sheet in a nil-nil draw.
This result was sealed by the referee’s whistle soon afterwards and many fans felt this was a fair result; with only half chances on show as both sides won the defensive battle avoiding any mistakes in the process. It means that Gosport are second with 16 points from seven games in the Southern League Premier South (five wins, one draw and one defeat); whilst Supermarine sit just inside the play off positions at this early stage of the campaign.
For now, however, Gosport’s attention must turn to knockout cup football, with two matches over the next seven days in various competitions. Borough will next travel up to the Bristol / Gloucestershire border for an away trip against Yate Town on Saturday afternoon, hoping to seal a third round qualifying tie in the FA Cup. Four days later at Privett Park, Sholing will be the visitors in a local Hampshire Senior Cup derby encounter (pending any replay emerging from Saturday’s game).