By Connor Steel
GOSPORT BOROUGH continued their recent resurgence as they earned an outstanding one-nil victory versus Southern League Premier South leaders and Hampshire rivals Farnborough on Saturday afternoon. It took a first half goal from striker Dan Wooden to seal the three points at Privett Park, before a brilliant all-round second half display of heart and desire sent the majority of a 681-strong crowd home to celebrate the win.
In dry winter conditions both sides had key chances to open the scoring during the first fifteen minutes, Farnborough seeing Mitchell Parker’s effort blocked at source on six minutes and Michael Elias-Fernandes hitting the side netting with his low shot that nearly caught out home keeper Fynn Talley. Down the other end Billie Busari somehow missed an open goal on the counter attack following a visiting corner, before firing straight at the away keeper with a low angled effort after being found by Mason Walsh on the left.
Despite all these chances neither keeper had been tested, but this changed after 22 minutes when a fine move ended with Harris-Sealey cutting inside and shooting powerfully towards goal only for the goalkeeper to parry to safety. Joshua Huggins also saw a shot blocked just before the half hour mark and had a header wide of the post seconds later, whilst Farnborough’s Terrell Egbri had a low effort blocked by Harry Kavanagh with Talley saving the rebound from Sam Deering on thirty-two minutes.
Gosport were then forced to defend a succession of Farnborough set pieces, with Huggins shown the yellow card after a late foul; the home midfielder arguably lucky not to see red for an aggressive lash out in the aftermath. But this didn’t halt the chances as Gosport took the lead after 39 minutes with a fine counter attack, Harris-Sealy finding Wooden through on goal and the striker made no mistakes in firing low past Turner at his near post; sending Privett Park into rapturous scenes before half time.
Farnborough started the second period with some good spells of possession, seeing the next chance in the 53rd minute as Reggie Young’s effort was well saved by Talley down low. Sixty seconds later an ambitious through ball reached Parker through on goal but the striker fired inches wide with the goal gaping. After weathering this storm Gosport could have made it two-nil as Harvey Rew broke into an overcrowded penalty area but saw his effort clear the crossbar with better passing options available.
On sixty three minutes came another Gosport chance to double their lead, Walsh showing great feet to create space for an angled effort that was brilliantly saved by Turner in the Farnborough goal. Two moments later another chance fell the way of the midfielder as he collected a long pass forward on a counter attack but saw his shot harmlessly over the crossbar, before the winger’s cross from the left looked to be heading into the feet of Wooden only to be cleared away by ex-Boro’ star Jordan Rose.
Unable to get a second goal to kill the game, Gosport seemed to revert to protecting the lead with a huge defensive effort in the last twenty minutes; limiting Farnborough to little clear cut chances and space in-behind. But they were living dangerously as Talley had to be sharp to prevent a curling shot by Paul Hodges and the resulting rebound, whilst the Gosport goalkeeper also denied Parker’s effort in the final moments; the hosts making two substitutions late on and sealing a fantastic clean sheet victory.
Farnborough remain top of the league despite their first defeat of 2022, last losing to the Met Police in mid-December as they host Chesham United on Tuesday night. For Gosport they remain fifth in the table and in the play-off places after 31 games played with seven points from their last three games before tough upcoming tests. Shaun Gale’s side will face a week off before travelling to Hayes & Yeading next Saturday afternoon, before playing Cornwall based Truro City at Privett Park on February 19 as they look to continue their five game unbeaten run since mid-January.
PICTURED BY TOM PHILLIPS: Dan Wooden wheels away in celebration after opening the scoring against Hampshire rivals Farnborough, which proved to be the winner in front of packed Privett Park.