By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH concluded this month of January with another “frustrating stalemate” as they travelled the short journey to AFC Totton on Saturday afternoon; the local play-off rivals playing out a closely fought and watchable one-all draw under chilly dry skies in front of a huge gate featuring more than one thousand supporters at The Snows Stadium.
It took just two minutes for the first opportunity as Alex Barsa fed a ball to Dan Wooden in space; the experienced away attacker lashing harmlessly wide with an over-ambitious effort. Rory Williams was then booked for a late tackle on eight minutes, which allowed a chance for Totton as Adam Tommaso flicked his header into Scott Rendell to fire inches wide.
Proceedings slowly developed into a midfield battle with Totton arguably dominating possession and soon the chances; ‘debutant’ Joan Luque and Ethan Taylor both having drives wide of either post in rapid succession. Down the other end a clever set-piece was deflected into the wall from Bradley Tarbuck and Rafa Ramos’ high shot was hit wildly off-target.
The half hour passed without a further incident before a flurry of chances arrived for Totton, who saw Jordan Ragguette scuff wide when through on goal and Luque denied by goalkeeper Toby Steward. And the visitors did punish these two squandered chances in the last notable action before half time; Wooden nodding home a corner from Harry Kavanagh.
Home fans were celebrating prematurely on forty-seven minutes when Luque side-footed his effort into the side netting from the angle, whilst Joe Oastler curled a shot over the left corner seconds later. Totton did eventually find a deserved equaliser before the hour as Sam Magri let fly from 30 yards; this powerful drive beating Steward who fumbled the ball.
Whilst Kavanagh struck a free-kick narrowly over the crossbar after the equaliser it was Totton who looked likely to add a second with Rendell and Luque further going close in different attacks. This prompted substitutions across both sides as the match entered its last twenty minutes, but these interruptions signalled a “flat period” as defences stayed on top.
Frustrations saws a flurry of bookings before chances fell to either side; Jordan Chiedozie firing just over for Totton and Ramos hitting straight at the home keeper with eight minutes left. Borough further had the best chance to win the three points in stoppage time as Sam Hookey played a pass to Lucias Vine; the striker guiding an effort wide as it ended 1-1.
This score means that Gosport haven’t won a match since Boxing Day, a streak that sees them slip further behind their title rivals Salisbury and Chesham. The side further have a ‘hectic’ calendar for the start of February with two games in the 1st six days; first hosting 3rd place Merthyr Town next Saturday before travelling to Harrow Borough just days later.
PICTURED BY DAVE (DW123ME): Sam Magri celebrates a ‘brilliant’ leveller for Totton as away players talk to referee.