Justin Bennett spared Gosport Borough’s blushes with a late leveller in a 2-2 friendly draw at Sholing.
Just when it looked as though the Wessex League outfit were about to celebrate a pre-season victory at their Portsmouth Road ground, a superb cross from Paul Hinshelwood fell nicely for striker Bennett from point-blank range.
Not for the first time in the summer build-up to their Conference South campaign, Alex Pike’s side were once again at their creative best, though lacking in their finishing, with Rory Williams, Andy Forbes and Mike Gosney all going close.
After Sammy Igoe had gone close, Forbes sent Williams clear to thump what should have been the opener, only for an assistant referee to see things differently and wave for offside.
But on 34 minutes Borough again put together a quality move that shredded the Sholing rearguard and Brett Poate was away to flash in a cross that Igoe met to slam high into the net from close range.
Early in the second half, Williams had a header cleared off the line after darting in to meet Gosney’s near-post cross.
Then, as play broke to the other end, Wort eased past Borough defender Lee Molyneaux before beating Nathan Ashmore with a fierce shot.
And before Borough had come to terms with the equaliser, more sloppy defending saw Sholing striker Ashley Jarvis ghost clear to rifle a shot against a post and rebound off the diving Ashmore into the back of the net.
But Borough had enough energy left to push for an equaliser, with Bennett duly obliging, though deep in injury-time he wasted a glorious chance of a winner when, with just keeper Matt Brown to beat, he fired high and wide.
‘It was a good work out,’ said Gosport secretary Brian Cosgrave.
‘It was a match we should have won on chances but the side kept going and grabbed a late equaliser.’
Gosport Borough: Ashmore, Hinshelwood, Poate, Fookes, Pearce, Dunford, Igoe, Smith, Forbes, Williams, Gosney. Substitutes: Wilde, Martin, Woodward, Bennett, Norton, Barton, Molyneaux, Barfoot.