Borough respond in style

THIS WEEK IN 1980: Fratton boycotted by Plymouth fans

Manager Alex Pike saw his Gosport Borough side respond in style to recent criticism with a 2-0 win at Stourport Swifts.

And another win tonight against Paulton Rovers at Privett Park (7.45pm) could take Borough within six points of the Southern League south & west division play-off positions.

Manager Alex Pike had called upon his players to give him value for money after a series of disappointing results left them off the pace.

And assistant manager Mick Catlin believes the players have started to do just that, earning a 1-1 draw with leaders Sholing and then winning 2-0 on Saturday.

'In the last two games the senior players have proved to be the backbone in two outstanding performances,' said Catlin.

'We had a three-hour coach trip to Stourport with a lot of youngsters in the squad but we came away with a hard-fought three points.

'It was tough because Pete Castle and Dean Arnold were both suspended and Alex Ward and James Rowe were struck down by flu.

'Experienced players like Aaron Cook and Dave Birmingham played a crucial role organising everyone around them.

'Up until Christmas, defensive mistakes have frequently let us down but we are starting to look more solid at the back.

'We know that if we can keep clean sheets we will win matches because we have the firepower to score goals with Justin Bennett, James Taylor and Nathan Lynch.

'In our last two games we have shown a greater dogged determination not to concede.

'Tonight's game against Paulton Rovers is an important one for us.

'They are in the play-off places and that is where we want to be.

'We are a bit of a bogey side for them, having beaten them twice last season, and we must look to continue that trend.

'There is still a lot of football to be played this season and I don't believe people should write us off just yet.

'There are still 20-plus games to go and we still have faith in the squad of players we have here.

'If we didn't we would have shipped a few out by now and that isn't the case.

'Maybe it has taken us a little bit longer to gel than we expected.

'The last two results have boosted the players' confidence and I feel they have started to address some of the criticism that has come their way.'

Borough are boosted by the return of Arnold and Castle to the squad after suspension but will await news on flu victims Ward and Rowe.

Nineteen-year-old Jack Smith, who made an impressive debut at Stourport, is also retained in the squad.

'Jack proved he can step up to this level and helped set up our opening goal,' said Catlin.

Borough took a 22nd-minute lead at Stourport when Bennett had a shot parried and Dan Wooden followed up to head in the rebound.

Borough sealed the points two minutes into the second half when Pat Cox finished well, curling his shot around the home goalkeeper.