By Connor Steel
BEACONSFIELD TOWN inflicted yet another tough defeat for Gosport on Saturday afternoon as they sealed a stunning second half comeback at Holloways Park; beating their visitors three-two after a drizzly and windy ninety minutes in Buckinghamshire. But unlike previous losses this latest one wasn’t down to a lack of efforts or desire from Shaun Gale’s outfit who produced a clinical first half performance to lead two-nil and looked to be heading for victory in additional time, only to let this opportunity slip as they conceded two quickfire goals.
On a slick surface it was Gosport who adapted quicker and they did create the opening chance within seven minutes as Bradley Tarbuck found a pocket of space inside the box before firing straight at home goalkeeper R’Avan Constable who gathered at his near post. Undeterred the visitors kept probing in the opening quarter of an hour with great play releasing Abdulai Bell-Baggie who saw his angled effort just clearing the crossbar; the winger further setting up Dan Wooden with his cushioned delivery on fourteen minutes who flashed over.
Although Tobias Little flicked into the side netting on twenty-two minutes after cutting inside for Beaconsfield, it was the away side who took the lead sixty seconds later down the other end; Wooden being tripped inside the box whilst challenging for a swirling Harry Kavanagh cross. The referee awarded the penalty and Busari made simply little mistake in sending Constable the wrong way; slotting his effort neatly into the bottom right corner as Gosport scored the opening goal for the first time across their five past Southern League matches.
Proceedings passed the half hour without further incident as Beaconsfield worked themselves back into the game, seeing Oliver McCoy narrowly miss a cross from Sam Granville and the attacker then headed over a brilliant delivery from Oliver Sprague down the opposite flank on 38 minutes. The hosts’ final chance before the interval saw Nathan Minhas force away keeper Patrick O’Flaherty before Borough doubled their lead in stoppage time; Wooden breaking free and squaring a pass to Busari who tapped home from nine yards out.
Whatever was said at half time seemed to spark Beaconsfield to life as they halved their arrears immediately upon the restart, neat one-touch passing releasing Minhas in too much space and the home striker made no mistake in smashing home inside O’Flaherty’s left post for two-one. In response Borough attempted to break quickly from a home set-piece on 55 minutes with Wooden and Harvey Jewitt-White linking up in a promising situation; this excellent opening only failing when the Portsmouth-loanee’s pass couldn’t reach his teammate.
Substitutions and injury stoppages combined to signal a quiet lull as the away defence seemed to drop deep, which allowed Beaconsfield to create multiple chances in their search for an equaliser. Their best opportunity came on seventy-six minutes when Minhas saw his low effort saved brilliantly by O’Flaherty; who also calmly collected multiple crosses from all angles as the hosts looked dangerous. Lengthy home shouts for handball were also turned down by the referee as a shot was deflected out for a corner, which was well cleared away.
Pressure finally told for Beaconsfield as they equalised on ninety-two minutes when a deflected effort landed kindly at the feet of second-half substitute Callum Webb, who drilled his shot in the corner past O’Flaherty at his far post for two-apiece. And the hosts sparked jubilant celebrations as they clinched a heart-breaking late victory with the final notable kick of play; Rory Williams’ free kick being cleared to find Minhas racing through and the striker lobbed his floated chip effort over the outrushing O’Flaherty that bounced inside an open goal.
With FA Cup action affecting the division’s fixtures on Saturday, this latest defeat means Gosport slip a single place down the table following ten defeats from sixteen matches in the 2022-23 campaign to date; with other sides around them having multiple matches in hand. Shaun Gale will be hoping that their horrendous winless run since October 1 is ended at Privett Park over the coming fortnight as his team play two big games; firstly hosting Bracknell next Saturday before Chesham United visit on November 19 in separate tough encounters.
PICTURED BY BEACONSFIELD TOWN FC: Home players regrouped at the interval and launched a brilliant comeback in the second period to seal another big home success over Gosport Borough (taken on 29/10/22)