By Connor Steel
HANWELL TOWN produced arguably their best all-round performance of this campaign on Saturday as they thrashed Gosport Borough, winning four-one at the Powerday Stadium to ensure a fourth successive loss for Shaun Gale’s team in just two weeks. And the home side could have won by a much larger margin had they converted their multiple chances throughout the ninety minutes in the capital, with most of the damage being done within the first half before a controlled display in the second period from the dominant play-off hopefuls.
The hosts made a lightening start as they opened the scoring within the sixth minute following a spell of one-touch passing; a dipping shot from Daniel Rowe beating Gosport keeper Patrick O’Flaherty inside the bottom corner for one-nil. But the lead was short-lived as the visitors equalised just two minutes later as a cross was cleared to find Harvey Rew, who sent a weak shot effort into the top left corner of Hugo Sobte’s goal from 20 yards out; the game quieting down after a first fifteen minutes that had seen 2 brilliant finishes from midfield.
Scoring an equaliser didn’t seem to turn the tides for Gosport as the home side brilliantly retook their earlier advantage with Kain Adom played through on goal, the striker making no mistake in sitting down O’Flaherty before chipping the goalkeeper into the far corner. And it could have been three-one for Hanwell on twenty-four minutes as a back-pass from Ryan Woodford nearly caught out the away goalkeeper before a panicked clearance, the corner ultimately coming to nothing as play passed thirty minutes without any further incident.
The third goal quickly arrived for Hanwell on thirty-seven minutes as they worked the ball up the pitch with a sense of calm composure, creating enough space for Shomari Barnwell who easily side-footed home his low effort into the bottom right corner from the edge of the box. This set the tone for the remainder of the 1st half as the hosts dominated possession and won a series of set-pieces, although Gosport created a late opening before the interval as Danny Hollands drove wide on the turn after a Rory Williams free kick fell into his path.
Gosport were forced to make tactical changes at the break as Andreas Robinson picked up a knock and had to be replaced by Finn Walsh-Smith, which didn’t create any feeling of solidity as the hosts further pushed for a fourth goal upon the restart. They saw a goal kick played into the path of Adam Laaref who went on a mazy dribble and fired just wide of the post from an ambitious range whilst Barnwell saw his shot saved easily by a diving O’Flaherty; the visitors almost getting 1 back when Harry Kavanagh dragged wide from his tight angle.
Wooden went even closer to reducing the arrears on sixty-six minutes as his shot came off the crossbar from eighteen yards with Sobte left scrambling, Harvey Bradbury following up as he fired just over on the rebound from close range; a missed chance that the visitors were made to rue moments later. Hanwell broke forward on the counter attack with Adom completing a solo run through the backtracking away midfield before firing a low effort that beat the diving O’Flaherty to nestle in the bottom corner for his second finish of the afternoon.
With the game over as a contest Gosport brought on Southampton loan signing Tommy Higgs and the recent signing almost scored for Shaun Gale’s outfit within seconds, forcing Sobte into a brilliant save as he headed towards goal from Kavanagh’s cross. From this point Hanwell could have scored another three or four goals with Laaref going close twice before Adom forced an outstanding double save by O’Flaherty; the final action seeing Walsh Smith booked in stoppage time as frustration built up against the worthy winners from the day.
This victory means that Hanwell sit third in the table behind Truro City and Weston-super-Mare on a day that saw FA Cup action for other sides in the division, whilst Borough have slipped to twelfth with a negative goal difference after seven defeats from their opening twelve matches. Four away defeats have no doubt risen a sense of pressure on Shaun Gale’s team going into two big home matches over the next two weeks; hosting Dorchester Town to Privett Park next Saturday before welcoming Harrow Borough in the following midweek.
PICTURED BY HANWELL TOWN TWITTER: Home players celebrate one of their four goals in easy victory with Gosport player visually disappointed at conceding in Saturday’s away defeat at the Powerday Stadium.