Match Report Salisbury FC v Gosport Borough

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Salisbury FC 1 Gosport Borough 0

BetVictor Southern League Premier South

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

By Alec Hayter

Anyone disenchanted and disappointed by Saturday's result at Chesham United would, if a reasonable and thoughtful person, be more than excited and elated by the opening home game of the season against fancied Gosport Borough. One could be forgiven for thinking that the opponents were Havant and Waterlooville on seeing the opponents' line-up, and the victory must be regarded as one over more or less a National League squad.

In his programme notes manager Steve Claridge said that this would possibly be one of the most difficult games of the season and he was not wrong, adding, after the game: "It's going to be a tough league this season and no one can expect their team to win every game in a highly competitive campaign. I am disappointed that many wrote us off after just one game on Saturday, but surely tonight's showing proves that we can be a force to be reckoned with. We never gave up against a very good Borough side."

It's likely that all of the 688 crowd will have been entertained by a true local derby, which was feisty at times, although home fans are the happier with the 3 points, courtesy of a late, late George Colson penalty. Away supporters might justifiably feel that their side deserved to take something from the game taking the match as a whole, but what we did to Gosport has been done to us!

The Whites were first to show when Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick saw his 5th minute effort blocked, but we had to wait a further 20 minutes before a second chance arrived for the Hendon import. Ricky Wellards’ free-kick saw the ball eventually find its way out to Toby Holmes, who headed square into the danger area. Under pressure from a massed defence Hippolyte-Patrick couldn't get enough on the header which was easily gathered by visiting keeper Pat O'Flaherty.

H PShaquile Hippolyte-Patrick goes close to opening his account - ©Roger Elliott

This produced an immediate response when Sam Argent found himself in space on the left and was narrowly wide with an attempted lob over debutant keeper Tom Smith after seeing Smith off his line, and in spite of some powerful midfield play, Gosport offered nothing further until 3 minutes before the break when Argent's 18 yard snapshot went wide of the upright.

Immediately before the break, Holmes’ trickery was only halted by some good defensive work, and although Borough had had their fair share of play before the interval, after it they had 15 minutes of dominance. On 50 minutes, ex-White Theo Lewis lobbed wide, and 3 minutes later another ex-White, George Barker, also missed an opportunity from Lewis' squared pass.

Earlier, Gosport had reacted, and now it was Salisbury's turn to do so with Holmes, through on goal, being foiled by O'Flaherty as the striker tried to take the ball round him. In the ensuing chaos Warren Bentley screwed an effort wide, but in a tit for tat attack on 57 minutes Argent got in the clear in a one-on-one with Smith, who did exactly the right thing in calmly thwarting the striker. Throughout the game, the young keeper, who is on Arsenal's books and signed very late before the game, didn't put a foot wrong and performed in a manner well above what could be expected from a 17-year-old. I am sure that he any nerves were settled after cleanly plucking a cross from the air in the first half, and he went on from there to deservedly earn Man of the Match, awarded possibly for his assured performance rather than any spectacular saves.

Just after the hour a Marley Ridge cross found Lewis who hardly tested a keeper of Smith's calibre with his header, and the increasing influence of Lewis Benson then nearly bore fruit when on 64 minutes he tested O'Flaherty with a low right foot effort after cutting in from the left. Four minutes later Benson found himself on the opposite side of the park and again forced O'Flaherty to earn his corn. Benson was causing trouble and on 72 minutes another cross was hurriedly put over the bar by a desperate Gosport defender.

With only 15 minutes remaining, the match was still finely balanced and with Salisbury pressing forward, it was no surprise when Matt Paterson found himself one-on-one with Smith, who again showed remarkable calm and precision in preventing an opener.

Not to be denied, yet another fierce Benson cross from the right was just too far in advance of Bentley, who would surely have applied the finishing touch.had he been a couple of inches nearer the line, but the final, and ultimately deciding act of the contest came when Jacob Bancroft leathered a Benson free-kick against the outstretched hand of Gosport's Sam Roberts and referee Adam Baker had no hesitation in correctly pointing to the spot. The new laws are specific on handball offences and the main reason for the penalty award would surely have been the 12/15 yards or so distance the ball travelled from Bancroft's foot. No VAR technology would have changed anything! Whatever, Colson took responsibility and just about squeezed a powerful finish past a despairing O'Flaherty 's right hand. Think the job may be yours George, at least for the time being!

penalty2George Colson on the spot for the winner - ©Roger Elliott

The season has truly got underway and will hopefully be continued in the same vein with the visit of Dorchester on Saturday, who will not have been too pleased to have to travel to Truro on a Tuesday, and even less pleased on the return journey after suffering a 3-0 defeat.

The attendance against Gosport at the Ray Mac was great, especially for a Tuesday evening game, and was by far the highest of all the league games on the evening, but after last night's showing this should really be increased substantially on Saturday for another local-ish derby. Come along and support your team.


Salisbury FC: Smith, Colson, Sommerton, Dawson, Amankwaah, Oseni, Benson, Knowles, Holmes (Fitchett 73), Wellard (Bentley 54), Hippolyte-Patrick (Bancroft 61).

Subs not used: Mullings, Young.

Gosport Borough: O'Flaherty, Lea, Carter, Roberts, Woodford, Lewis (Huggins 77), Argent, Barker (Paterson 62), Kennedy, Williams, Whittingham (Ridge 45).

Attendance: 688                   Referee: A Baker.