Great finishes seal Gosport victory

By Connor Steel (photograph taken on August 22, 2020)

IN THEIR final pre-season match at Privett Park, Gosport Borough FC were victorious in a hard-fought Monday night encounter versus Lymington Town in overcast evening conditions.

After last year’s goalless match-up two great finishes in either half from Owen Roundell and Pat Suraci helped Boro’ win after 90 minutes, sandwiching an Lymington equaliser scored by Bradley Gale on the hour mark.

Gosport started on the front foot with plenty of the ball, creating their first chance after just seven minutes from a corner that was cleared to Bradley Tarbuck. The midfielder chested down the ball and shot towards goal, but his half-volley drifted wide of the post with the Lymington goalkeeper beaten for pace.

This was the only real opportunity of the opening first half as the visitors stood firm against sustained home possession, winning the loose balls and clearing set-piece deliveries with relative ease. Their only shot in the first half came from Owen Fee, who shot straight at Ellis Grant with a scuffed effort from an angle.

On the half hour Borough opened the scoring when a fine move found Owen Roundell in space, with the midfielder allowed time to curl an effort into the top right corner; a goal that drew applause from both sets of supporters watching a rare Monday night of football at Privett Park.

It should have been 2-0 before the break as a corner landed perfectly on the head of Ryan Woodford, with a misjudged effort comfortably caught by the Lymington keeper on 44 minutes.

This was the final chance of a cagey first half in which Borough had dominated possession and opportunities, but lacked a clinical touch in front of goal.

Lymington came out in attacking gear with a high pressing tactic, forcing the Gosport backline into a series of mistakes that ultimately saw an equaliser for the visitors. A loose pass was seized upon by the visiting attacker who forced a great save from the Gosport keeper, but the resulting corner was headed home by an unmarked defender Bradley Gale at the back post following poor marking on 57 minutes.

Following the equaliser, pre-season changes seemed to disrupt flow of play before the match sprang back into life in the final quarter.

Gosport seemed to use the Lymington goal as a platform with more zip to their passing and this did cause problems with substitute Dan Wooden going close on two occasions. But it was Pat Suraci who got the winner for the home side with an impressive finish, sending a curling shot inside the bottom left corner with his side foot.

In the final opportunity of the game for Gosport, it may have been 3-1 as Harvey Rew was played through on goal, but sent his effort inches over with the advancing keeper beaten at his far post.

Lymington did have a series of set pieces in the final five minutes, but were unable to break down a re-organised Gosport defence that did look solid throughout apart from a few crazy moments that helped the visitors back into the game.

For both sides this game was a chance to get some more stamina and gameplay into players, with the individual teams at slightly different stags of their pre-season preparation; although Borough will be happy with the performance and results given they had a tough match versus HWFC just 53 hours earlier.

Gosport’s final pre-season match will take place on Saturday afternoon as they travel to Hungerford, hoping to beat them for a second time this summer after a 1-0 friendly victory at Privett Park 10 days ago. A home clash against Poole Town will follow on August 14, which will mark the start of the Southern League Premier 2021-22 campaign, with excitement over a ‘new-ish’ manager and a range of recent signings building up supporter morale before the kick-off.