By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH FC failed to end a winless run in the Southern League Premier, losing two-one against strugglers Wimborne Town on Saturday afternoon, extending a frustrating streak to three matches since the start of December and just one victory in seven over the winter. In a hard-fought clash at New Cuthbury the hosts opened the scoring and doubled this after the half-time interval as Gosport were reduced to ten men after a red card; Luke Hallett’s consolation goal not enough to get a result from this trip across the South Coast.
In overcast but unseasonably warmer weather Wimborne started the better as Tom Bragg played a fine pass into ex-Borough star Bouwe Bosma who fired wide against his former teammates after just four minutes. Moments later down the other end Mason Walsh’s corner was met by a rising Joshua Huggins whose header looped past the far post after rising highest in a crowded penalty area, whilst Elliott Wheeler and Dan Wooden saw their low drives saved easily by home goalie Alexander Cull as the game reached the twenty minute mark.
And following an effort by Theo Lewis that cleared the crossbar, Wimborne took a surprise lead with the opening goal on 27 minutes of play. Good play down the right saw Curtis Young play a ball across a crowded penalty to find the lurking Harry Morgan, who simply side-footed into the corner past the diving Albert White. It should have been two-nil on 34 minutes as Billy Maybury played a pass into a corridor of uncertainty that was missed by everybody; Wimborne using the opening goal to settle an energetic first half as the floodlights begin to show.
Gosport dominated the final ten before the break as they sought to equalise, Walsh finding space on the left to play a low cross that evaded both Wooden and Lewis in the area before being cleared by a defender. On 41 minutes the visitors won a free kick that was taken by Rory Williams; the wing back sending his curling effort towards goal only to be denied by Cull between the home sticks who pulled off a brilliant save. The final opportunity before half-time saw Walsh cut inside and fed Huggins, who sent his snapshot wide of the post; the referee blowing for the interval seconds later.
Gosport needed a clinical opening to the second period but despite some early possession, it was 2-0 on fifty-two minutes as things went from bad to worse for Shaun Gale’s side. Chasing a long ball into the final third Ryan Woodford went down and pleaded with the referee that he was tripped. But the play continued and Young was found through on goal; calmly slotting home with little pressure past a stranded away goalkeeper to send Wimborne fans into raptures. But Gosport weren’t happy and a vocal protest saw Woodford sent off before play restarted.
Wimborne’s advantage in both numbers and the scoreline showed either side of the hour as they did play with a calmer nature, enjoying a number of bright spells as Jack Torniainen fired straight at goal and Jez Bedford’s ambitious effort flew harmlessly over the crossbar from range. Gosport to their big credit didn’t give up as Wooden had two brilliant chances to pull one back, shooting just inches wide of the far post with Cull beaten for pace. After a series of substitutions for both sides, the striker saw a looping header float over the bar in the 69th minute of play.
Lewis Beale and substitute Dan Bartlett saw chances to truly put the game to bed, but the stage was set for a nervous ten minutes as Gosport pulled one back on 80’. Interplay down the right wing saw a cross played into the direction of the advancing Luke Hallett who converted from six yards to reduce the arrears. On 86 minutes the visitors thought they had equalised through returning Ryan Pennery’s calm finish into the corner, but heartbreakingly the official raised the offside flag to rule the goal out. Wimborne held on despite some very late Gosport pressure to secure only their second win of the season and consign the visitors to more defeat on the road.
Other results and postponed games this weekend mean Gosport maintain their fifth place position in the table despite this loss in Dorset, although their manager will be concerned that the play-off push seems to have slipped away slightly with teams around them having matches in hand. A week off will help them over the Christmas period before they host Hartley Wintney at Privett Park on December 27, before travelling to Salisbury on New Year’s Day. For Wimborne they remain bottom of the table as they approach the half-way point following new owners and improved atmosphere around New Cuthbury after a difficult opening to the ongoing 2021/2022 campaign.
PICTURED BY TOM PHILLIPS: Wimborne hold on for victory against fifth-place Gosport at New Cuthbury