By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH FC continued their winning start to pre-season preparations as they followed up their four-nil away victory over Petersfield with a narrow win over League One opposition on Sunday afternoon (July 3), beating Pompey one-nil in a local derby to excite a sell-out crowd within Privett Park. And it was no less than Shaun Gale’s team deserved on a sunny afternoon as they more than matched their rivals for large periods, good defending providing them with another brilliant clean sheet.
After a period of applause it was Pompey who started the better in possession and created the first opening within two minutes; a fine pass finding Marcus Harness whose shot was cleared off the line. Down the other end Gosport saw their first chance on seven minutes as Billie Busari showed great feet to beat the defender for pace; seeing his rising shot saved easily by the trialist away goalkeeper.
The next notable attack on thirteen minutes saw the opening goal when the ball was worked into the path of Andreas Robinson, whose twenty-five yard strike with his right foot smashed inside the bottom corner; nearly doubling his tally after the half hour mark. In response Pompey saw a Roman Curtis effort dragged wide and a header saved by the returning Patrick O’Flaherty between the home sticks.
Gosport almost doubled their advantage through a mistake in the Pompey defence as they passed around the back, a pass towards the keeper nearly ending in the back of the net on 42 minutes. And Pompey could have equalised on the stroke of half time following good work down the left to reach Joe Morrell, whose drive from an angle was smothered by a brilliant block as the referee blew for half time.
As traditional in pre-season friendlies both teams made large scale changes at the interval that signalled a slight lull upon the restart; Pompey creating two quickfire chances either side of the hour mark with Alfie Bridgman driving wide and Dan Gifford heading over from six yards out. The visitors furthermore saw Harry Jewitt-White squandered a good effort under pressure from fantastic home defending.
But Gosport were still looking good on the counter attack and nearly doubled their lead on seventy minutes; Paul Agbeseyi finding space but was quickly thwarted by Toby Steward in the away goal grabbing the ball of his feet. Sixty seconds later a Pompey break ended in a fine cross reaching the trialist winger to fire over from an angle, before Gifford saw his scuffed shot saved by O’Flaherty with a grateful hand.
The hosts nearly doubled their advantage on 81 minutes when they won a free kick, which reached Finley Walsh-Smith to head against the crossbar before he made a crucial stop to deny a counter attack. And Gosport held on for the victory despite a late chance for Pompey in stoppage time, Gifford being denied by the trialist keeper and the follow-up smashed over the bar from Bridgeman at close range.
Although the result won’t matter for either side in the very early stages of pre-season, there were plenty of positives on show for Gosport as they made it two wins and two clean sheets in just 48 hours. They will now regroup for training sessions later this week before a run of three home games in six days before July 16; starting with a visit from Eastleigh next Saturday afternoon with a 3pm kick-off time.
PICTURED BY TOM PHILLIPS: Gosport players celebrate their early goal that turned out to be the winner.