Gosport’s 11-goal Paulsgrove victory thriller

By Connor Steel / Photograph by Tom Phillips

GOSPORT Borough reached double figures on Wednesday night as they hosted Paulsgrove under lights at Privett Park, beating their Hampshire League opponents 11-1 in a huge victory.

Six goals combined between Bradley Tarbuck and Nicky Dembele set Borough on their way in this Portsmouth Senior Cup tie against the Havant-based opposition from four divisions below them, whilst finishes from the younger players helped add gloss to the final score-line. The visitors arguably didn’t deserve this harsh-looking result based on performance, but they had a player rightly sent off for dissent in the second half and had furious encounters with the referee throughout this feisty encounter.

Gosport started well as they dominated possession in dry conditions, starting with a lighter moment as Matt Casey was called upon to fix a loose frame before a corner was taken in the fourth minute. But Borough were looking serious at scoring an early goal as Theo Lewis knocked a cross into the path of Nicky Dembele, with the winger’s shot rising harmlessly over from eight yards out. Moments later, an effort by Lewis was fired wide under pressure after good work down the left by Bradley Lethbridge. But it wasn’t long before the hosts took the lead.

Dembele won the ball off the midfielder, cutting inside and finding Bradley Tarbuck advancing into the penalty area; with the striker finishing a cool finish past Paulsgrove keeper Tommie Stanley at his far post on 12 minutes. The Borough player then doubled his team and personal tally just sixty seconds later, beating two defenders and smashing home with a great individual effort down the left wing. It should have been an 18-minute hat-trick for Tarbuck, but his well-placed free kick landed on the cricket grounds in what was a fine rugby union conversion.

Paulsgrove then had a couple of corners and saw Chaz Gardner fire wide with an ambitious shot after 21 minutes, but in truth they were getting frustrated after Gosport’s double blow despite holding out valiantly in the opening moments. Shane Cornish and captain Billy Butcher was booked for dissent by the referee, while the official was forced to caution their manager as he responded angrily to a decision on the half hour mark as the game slowed down slightly.

It was 3-0 on 40 minutes after chances for Dembele and Lethbridge, with the ball played out to right back Ryan Hughes who smashed the ball into the top corner in a great sidefooted finish. On Borough’s next attack, they won a penalty as a shot was blocked with the referee deeming it handball from the defender, Nicky Dembele smashing it home down the middle for 4-0 90 seconds after the third goal. The scoreline soon became five when a cross was dropped by Stanley into the path of Mbayo’s knee, with the ball bouncing over the line after 44 minutes of play. Just before the break Gosport made it 6-0 as Dembele smashed home the rebound after racing through, with the away keeper unlucky to concede after his initial brilliant save.

Although the interval gave Paulsgrove a breather, Gosport were in hostile mood as they scored a seventh goal just 60 seconds after the restart. Substitute Rory Williams played in a great cross down the left which was met at the back post by Lethbridge to slot home, which led to mass changes from Paulsgrove as they reenergised their midfield. This did somewhat halt the flow for a 10-minute spell in which they stopped the flow of Gosport’s attack around the hour mark, before three goals in five minutes brought the game into life.

Gosport made it 8-0 on 66 minutes as the ball was played around midfield, with Adam Poynter firing home a curling effort that bounced off the surface into the bottom right corner. This quickly became nine as a cross from the left was converted by Dembele, who completed his hat-trick with a hooked effort from close range with 20 minutes left. But despite the score-line Paulsgrove were always looking to attack when they could, a tactic that got rewarded after 73 minutes. The visitors won a free kick that was quickly taken by Jake Daniels 40 yards out, with his ambitious effort lobbing Ellis Grant into the back of the net to spark celebrations by the away benches.

This joy was short-lived as a foul sparked handbags with bookings shown to four players including Gosport’s Josh Huggins. However as Paulsgrove continued to appeal to the referee Charlie Moore was shown a straight red card after showing extra dissent towards the officials, with some fans saying there should been more than one sending off after this incident. Gosport made it 10 with 12 minutes left as Dembele broke down the right and played the ball to Williams to slot home inside the corner with a composed finish.

Thankfully the final 10 minutes was calmer as the game drifted towards its conclusion with no other bookings, although there was one last goal in stoppage time before the referee blew for the end. It came from Dembele who calmly ran through the tiring backline and slotted home to bring his evening tally to four, completing a brilliant night for Borough with the only negatives being an injury to Theo Lewis and the lack of a clean sheet.

Gosport will return to Privett Park on Saturday afternoon as they host Met Police in the Southern League Premier; before travelling to North Hampshire to play Farnborough next Tuesday, October 12. But games versus Harrow Borough and Hayes & Yeading have both been postponed due to cup ties for both sides taking priority, meaning than Gosport will have an eleven day break. Borough will return on October 23 when they face a trip across to Cornwall for a league clash versus Truro City, their longest journey so far this season.