Hanwell force Gosport into relegation battle

By Connor Steel

GOSPORT BOROUGH slipped further into relegation trouble as they suffered another tough home defeat on Saturday afternoon; losing two-nil versus midtable opponents Hanwell Town with the away side completing a league double at Privett Park. It caps a miserable seven days for Mark Moseley’s team who are now win-less in six matches since beating North Leigh on February 22 and follows the heart-breaking loss versus Swindon Supermarine on Wednesday night, whilst also ensuring a second successive month without scoring at home.

In bright and sunny conditions the hosts started brightly as they created an opening within just 15 seconds of the kick-off; Brad Tarbuck advancing down the wing and having his low shot blocked at source before Harvey Rew slashed over his shot from twenty-five yards out. Down the other end Hanwell easily settled down these early stages with 2 steady spells of possession that ended when Daniel Carr forced the home keeper Patrick O’Flaherty into a smart stop after eight minutes and a succession of corners were cleared away by the hosts.

Both teams had chances to open the scoring before the half hour as Tarbuck continued his early dominances in wide areas on twenty minutes; the winger trading passes with George Hunt before sending a high skidding drive into the side netting from an angle. In their response Hanwell saw Kain Adom spin around his marker at pace but slice his cross over the bar with perhaps more space to pick his attackers out before striker Mathew Mackenzie hooked wide a cutback from Dwayne Duncan; home defender Noa Boutin suffering a slight injury.

The left back’s replacement Tyree Dyce nearly made the immediate impact on his debut as he played in Dan Wooden after thirty-two minutes; the striker’s effort beating both away keeper R’avan Constable and the near post. A deflected drive from Rew had Constable scrambling to stop Gosport scoring before the hosts suffered a big scare; Issac Olorunfemi playing a pacey cross that brushed the crossbar and bounced kindly to the feet of Abdul Seidu-Osman whose rebound was fired over from eight yards as the scores stayed 0-0 at the break.

Hanwell started out rapidly in the second period as a corner was hooked off the line after forty-seven minutes during a goalmouth scramble, which proved to be a warning unheeded by the home defenders as the visitors did take the lead after fifty-one minutes. It came after brilliant play down the left side with Seidu Osman’s fine cross reaching Mathew MacKenzie at the near post and the striker made no mistake in nodding home past a diving O’Flaherty; a lead that was nearly doubled when Carr placed his shot across the post and inches over.

Borough’s best opportunity to level arrived on the hour mark as Wooden was found in a pocket of space and rounded the keeper when one-on-one with defenders lagging behind; this angle sadly being too tight and his effort went sailing over as the home fans were expecting the net to ripple around the stadium. This was soon punished within sixty seconds when Hanwell doubled their advantages when Tom McElroy was found from a long pass through the middle and he made no mistake in calmly slotting past O’Flaherty into the right corner.

This second goal knocked the stuffing out of Gosport as they struggled to respond during the final twenty five minutes of play, substitutions for both outfits further stopping any home momentum being applied. But credits need to be given to Mark Moseley’s side as they never really gave up with a series of half chances beginning when Brett Williams headed straight at Constable from close range; Billie Busari further dragging far wide on eighty-six minutes in the last notable opening as Hanwell held out for a brilliant clean sheet away from home.

Another loss combined with other results mean that Gosport have dropped down to seventeenth place in the Southern League, remaining four points clear of the relegation zone with six games left to play. An absolutely crucial fortnight now awaits Mark Moseley as they prepare to make the long trip to face 19th position Harrow Borough in the capital next Saturday (25/03) before hosting Hendon in twentieth on April 1. Failure to get the sufficient points could lead Borough into further trouble with four games left to play of the 2022-23 campaign.

PICTURED BY TOM PHILLIPS: Debutant Tyree Dyce heads towards the goal but is thwarted as Gosport fail to score at home for another ninety minutes; Hanwell netting twice in the second period to secure this victory.