Gosport’s promotion push received a huge boost with a 2-1 victory at fellow play-off contenders Barwell last night.
Borough extended their unbeaten run in the Southern League premier division to 16 matches courtesy of goals from Dan Woodward and Danny Smith.
It meant their long trip to Leicestershire was worth every mile as Alex Pike’s side moved to within two points of Barwell, who occupy the final play-off spot.
In blustery conditions and driving rain, it took both sides a while to get to grips with the conditions.
But Borough showed early signs of attacking intent with a lovely cross from Woodward finding Jamie Brown, who miscued his effort in the penalty area.
Rory Williams also caused problems with a couple of surging runs into the Barwell area, while Brown had another opportunity, feeding off a Luke King cross, but he was unable to make the most of the chance.
Barwell came more into the game as the half progressed and Luke Barlone’s quality pass put Jamie Towers away, giving the Barwell striker the first real opening of the night.
He fired straight at Nathan Ashmore, though, leaving the partisan home crowd bemoaning his miss.
Justin Marsden’s cross also caused the Gosport defence difficulty as Dave Barnett’s back-header looped goalwards but was cleared off the line by Brett Poate.
Borough’s plan for the rest of the game was disrupted seven minutes before half-time as Brown was substituted after complaining of a painful hamstring, with Dan Wooden replacing him.
But Gosport began the second half in the best possible fashion as they took the lead within three minutes of the restart.
Sammy Igoe’s shot was spilled by keeper Liam Castle and Woodward gratefully slotted home the loose ball.
The game then descended into a succession of niggly fouls and missed chances for the hosts.
And with 18 minutes left, Gosport extended their lead.
Igoe’s free-kick from the left found the head of Smith who nodded past Castle.
The goal sparked jubilant celebrations among the small away following who had made the long three-hour trip from Hampshire.
But the job was not yet done for their side as Barwell pulled a goal back in stoppage-time courtesy of substitute Scott Rickards, who turned home a cross from the left.
His effort came too late, though, as Gosport held out to extend their unbeaten run and ensure the late-night journey home was an enjoyable one.
Barwell: Castle, Barnett, McAteer, G Hadland, Edwards, Lavery, Towers, S Hadland, Barlone, Charley, Marsden. Subs: Bates, West, Weale, Lower, Rickards.
GOSPORT: Ashmore, King, Poate, Cook, Molyneaux, Dunford, Igoe, Smith, Brown, Williams, Woodward. Subs: Martin, Wilson, Macklin, Wooden, Wild.
Referee: M Perry.