GOSPORT BOROUGH got their promotion hunt back on track with a much-needed 4-0 win over Bedford Town last night.
Three consecutive defeats in recent weeks had seen Alex Pike’s side slip out of the Southern League premier division play-off places, leaving Borough with a lot to do secure a second successive promotion.
However, despite remaining in sixth spot – one point behind fifth-placed Barwell after their goalless draw with Bashley – the locals ensured they remain in the hunt for a top-five finish with a superb performance against their mid-table opponents.
Visitors Bedford had Borough on the back foot early on, and a clever move presented Nick Beasant – son of former Pompey keeper Dave – with an easy chance which he fired wide.
As play broke in favour of Borough, Dan Woodward followed suit at the other end with a shot that went inches past the post.
On 10 minutes, and after Rory Williams had wasted an easy chance created by Luke King, he then turned provider with a pin-point cross that was too hot for the Bedford defence to deal with.
Only this time, Wooden made no mistake with his effort as he blasted Borough into the lead from point-blank range.
The goal lifted Pike’s side to a different level – Williams undoing the Bedford rearguard to find Wooden in acres of space to test keeper Ian Brown with a shot.
Sammy Igoe continued where he left off at Hitchin, producing the goods to set up Williams and then Jamie Brown. They both drifted past their respective markers, only to crash their shots over the bar.
Beasant came to Bedford’s rescue with a telling challenge on Williams, who looked set to double the home side’s advantage.
But just before the interval, Borough did go further ahead.
The recalled Brown cut the Bedford defence in two with a clever through ball for Williams to take in his stride and rifle a shot into the back of the net from 10 yards.
After the restart, Brown was left holding his head in despair after missing the easiest chance of the match.
He somehow lifted the ball over the bar, rather than beating his name sake with the goal at his mercy.
Williams showed typical Borough spirit when, after losing possession on the edge of the Bedford area, he raced to the other end to frustrate a move that looked full of promise.
Tempers became frayed after a clash between Woodward and Beech.
Borough were awarded a free-kick as a result and Ellis Martin stepped up to thumb the ball deep into the area, where Brown made up for his earlier miss by blasting home a third goal.
With the match effectively won, Pike made a triple substitution, with Igoe, Wooden and Williams making way for Sam Wilson, Tom Dunford and Adam Wilde.
And Wilde quickly made himself busy with a penetrating run and cross that gifted Smith the chance to fire home the fourth just before the final whistle.
Gosport Borough: Ashmore, King, Martin, Woodford, Molyneaux, Brown, Igoe, Smith, Wooden, Williams, Woodward. Subs: Wilde, Wilson, Dunford, Cook, Ender
Bedford Town: Brown, Wilkinson, Kinniburgh, Beech, Peacock, Green, Built, Libertucci, Beasant, Gyafi, Ivy. Subs: Green, Cooper, Davis, Webley, Simpson
Referee: Chris Wade (Southampton)