Borough boss fumes at FA Cup exit

Dan Wooden. Picture  Ian Hargreaves (132479-6)
Dan Wooden. Picture Ian Hargreaves (132479-6)
Samantha Quayle. Picture: Jordan Hampton

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Alex Pike accused his players of lacking passion as Gosport Borough surrendered to a 2-0 FA Cup defeat at Skrill South rivals Bath City.

The Privett Park boss laid into his team in the dressing room at half-time after a dreadful first-half showing.

But he felt he should not have to help them find motivation.

Pike blasted: ‘What cost us was our first-half display.

‘At this level, I shouldn’t have to pick players up or scream and shout at them to get them motivated for the FA Cup.

‘It’s the best cup competition in the world and I’m having a go at them at half-time to try to get some passion. That can’t be right.

‘It’s up to me to get the best out of my players and they did not perform to the level I know they can.

‘We have set high standards at this football club and they didn’t live up to them.’

While Gosport started the game knowing they were 10 wins from a Wembley final, it might as well have been 10,000 on the evidence of their woeful first-half display.

Realistically, of course, they knew any progress in the competition would most likely end a long way before anyone even contemplated singing Abide With Me.

But it appeared some of Gosport’s players had already decided that this season’s run would end in a heap at the bottom of the steep Twerton Park slope even before the game had kicked off.

While Bath were certainly no world-beaters, they were more aggressive and showed more desire from the first whistle as Borough pumped a succession of aimless long balls that gave their two forwards little to work with.

Dave Pratt’s opener saw him given the freedom of the Borough defence to bear down on goal.

And despite Gareth Barfoot’s save, the striker had the simple job of slotting home the rebound.

While Borough improved after the break – particularly with the introduction of Jack Barton, who added a real spark and at last started to give the visitors some cohesion with their passing – they still failed to trouble the Bath goalkeeper all afternoon.

The closest they came was when Barton so nearly found fellow substitute Dan Wooden, who just failed to reach an inviting cross when any contact would surely have secured an equaliser.

But Gosport did enjoy the better of spells in the second half.

And they looked like they might be gearing up for a late onslaught until Brett Poate gifted possession away inside his own half to allow substitute Ross Stearn to clip home a measured finish five minutes from time.

Pike said: ‘I’m getting fed up and angry.

‘We took one step forward last week against Tonbridge.

‘And now we have taken two massive steps back.

‘Even though we made changes in the second half – and had a lot of the ball – we never worked the keeper once.

‘Although my chairman won’t like me saying it, the most important thing for us this season is to stay in Skrill South.

‘You’ve always got to take positives and the one you can take is we have got no distraction of the FA Cup now.

‘It’s a poor positive but I will take anything at the moment.’

GOSPORT: Barfoot, Hinshelwood (Woodward, 56mins), Forbes, Pearce, Poate, Igoe (Barton, 56mins), Dunford (Wooden, 74mins), Brown, Gosney, Williams, Bennett. Subs not used: Ashmore, Martin, Molyneaux, Woodward, Smith