By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH made it three victories in a row at Privett Park as they won the ‘Battle of the Ports’ on Saturday afternoon, beating struggling Plymouth Parkway five-one with a simply outstanding display in front of almost 700 supporters. It took four second half goals including two in stoppage time to seal another home victory following an even first half under warm skies, providing the perfect start to the Bank Holiday weekend double header as Shaun Gale’s side bounced back from last weekend’s tight defeat away against Chesham.
Plymouth started the brighter and created the first notable opportunity within the opening three minutes when a throw-in reached Jared Lewington whose powerful effort from an angle was beaten away well by the home goalkeeper Patrick O’Flaherty at his near post. And the visitors took the lead just six minutes later when Ben Seymour’s shot was deflected into the path of the lurking Jack Crago who tapped home into an unguarded net as Gosport made a very untidy start; shaky decision making breaking down some good attacking moves.
But on their first meaningful attack the hosts were level when incisive interplay reached Harvey Jewitt-White down the left and he played in the overlapping Rory Williams; his inch-perfect cross reaching the onrushing Dan Wooden who easily headed home past a standing Plymouth goalkeeper Kyle Moore into the net. It may have been two-one on 24 minutes as Matthew Paterson held off a defender and played a pass into Harvey Rew, whose powerful first-time drive flashed wide from twenty yards with perhaps more time than believed.
Another chance fell Gosport’s way on thirty-five minutes when Abdulai Bell-Baggie collected a fine pass and showed good footwork, sending a curling shot just past the far post. Moments later the Plymouth centre back William Palfrey was given a warning from referee Paul Barker after a late tackle within a dangerous area, the free kick coming to nothing as it was comfortably cleared away. And additional time saw a last opportunity for the hosts as Harry Kavanagh’s cross reached the rising Rew who headed over; leaving it one-all at half time.
Although the hosts dominated the possession Plymouth were looking dangerous on the counter as they saw Brandon Pursall hit the far post with a snapshot effort from a corner, whilst Crago saw his lobbed effort at an angle saved smartly by O’Flaherty. However it was the hosts who took the lead after 58 minutes as a deeper cross by Kavanagh was acrobatically converted by Paterson into the left corner despite the best efforts of the diving Moore getting a hand to the shot; sparking loud celebrations from a vast majority of a packed stadium.
Williams was booked for the hosts as he broke down a Plymouth counter attack before Gosport scored a 3rd goal on 68 minutes; Paterson’s finesse shot parried by Moore into the path of away defender Ryan Lane who diverted into the bottom right corner for an own goal. Substitutions and an injury stoppage led to a quiet spell before the match livened up with a penalty for the visitors on 84 minutes after Daniel Rooney was fouled just inside the box; Seymour seeing his low spot-kick saved by O’Flaherty down to his right brushing the left post.
This missed penalty dampened the spirits of Plymouth and Gosport took full advantage in stoppage time, an accurate throw-in finding Kyal Williams via a flick-on; the young midfielder sending a first time shot inside the top left corner for four-one. And a further gloss was added in the 95th minute as the officials gave the hosts a penalty as Moore collided with an onrushing attacker, which was converted powerfully into the top left corner by Bradley Tarbuck with virtually the last kick before the final whistle ended a tough afternoon for the visitors.
Gosport have risen to seventh in the Southern League Premier table with the 3rd win from their five games, needing to be stronger away from home in order to fully build a play off challenge despite being in the early stages. Home fans will be hoping for a similar display on their travels to Winchester City on Monday with a 3pm kick off, before visiting Hamworthy United in the FA Cup next Saturday. The next game at Privett Park will see Shaun Gale’s side host last season’s rivals Salisbury on September 10, pending no FA Cup replays.
PICTURED BY TOM PHILLIPS: Kyal Williams fires home his goal and Gosport’s fourth as they comfortably beat Plymouth Parkway five-one, recovering from a shaky start to win huge ‘Battle of the Ports’ encounters.