Stalemate in ‘friendly’ local derby

From Connor Steel, live at the ground

Photograph by Tom Phillips, Gosport Borough FC media


GOSPORT AND AFC PORTCHESTER drew blanks in the first leg of the Ray Stainton & Steve Woods Memorial Cup at Privett Park on Saturday afternoon, July 10, with a goalless draw.

But In front a growing crowd, the score-line doesn’t reflect attacking play and chances for both sides throughout an enjoyable 90 minutes of football in overcast condition.

After a minute’s applause in memory of the individual club heroes, AFC Portchester started well with high pressure and this caused Gosport minor issues before the home side took arguable control.

The first chance came in the fourth minute when Harry Kavanagh found Brad Tarbuck who fired wide, before the two linked up again several moments later to set up Matt Paterson, whose head just missed a cross from the right hand side.

An enforced Gosport injury substitution seeing Bouwe Bosma replaced by Paul Agbeseyi seemed to initially dampen early home momentum; Lee Wort looking dangerous in-behind and was denied by a tackle from Matt Casey on 27 minutes.

However, it was Gosport who saw the first shot on target when Trialist A ran through the midfield to set up Brad Tarbuck, whose effort was saved easily by away keeper Matt Petts just after the half-hour mark.

Portchester had absorbed sustained Gosport pressure throughout the first half and weren’t afraid to put their bodies on the line in this local derby. This was apparent when Sam Pearce blocked a strong goalward effort with his legs from Paterson at close range in Gosport’s final chance of the break.

The last five minutes of the half were dominated by Portchester in possession, but the half time whistle blew with the scores goalless.

A fresh Gosport 11 started the second half with the exception of Paul Agbeseyi and goalkeeper Ellis Grant, the opening minutes dominated by an unchanged Portchester side although they couldn’t take advantage. As the second half progressed Gosport regained control but lacked cutting edge with their only chance before the hour mark seeing Paul Agbeseyi shooting inches wide from range.

Portchester then made several substitutions including captain Steve Ramsey, which seemed to spark attacking life into the visitors, who saw their first chance on 68 minutes.

Former Boro’ star George Barker found space and tiptoed into the penalty area but saw his low effort drift wide with Ellis Grant motionless. He then fired straight at the Gosport goalkeeper on 79 minutes with Portchester also winning many corners that ultimately came to nothing.

The final five minutes saw Gosport push for a late winner with Trialist D collecting a free-kick and seeing his low shot blocked at source, with Portchester then hitting Boro on the break with substitute Lamin Jatta forcing Ellis Grant into a great save. On 89 minutes good midfield play found Brad Lethridge whose shot was tipped over the crossbar by Matt Petts in the last notable chance of the ninety minutes.

Overall it was a game that Gosport dominated in large spells but Portchester saw the better chances particularly in the final 25 minutes as the home side tired. However there was no lack of effort on the pitch or any obvious indication this was a pre-season friendly but arguably 0-0 was a fair result over the 90 minutes of play.

The two sides will now face off again on Friday night (July 16) at the Crest Finance Stadium in the second leg, with the tie balanced and this memorial tournament is up for grabs.

(Please note this report has been copied onto the Gosport Borough FC website as part as the writer’s new role writing match articles for the club live from the media box.)