Alex Pike has revealed Gosport Borough’s secret weapon in their 2-2 FA Cup draw at Whitehawk was experienced coach Liam Daish.
The former Hawks, Ebbsfleet United and Nuneaton Town boss was drafted in to deliver two training sessions in midweek.
And Pike insists that proved the key to keeping Borough in the famous old competition.
The two clubs will now do battle in a replay at Privett Park tomorrow night.
‘We were lucky enough to be able to call on someone like Liam to help us out,’ said Pike.
‘It was nice to see him back on the training ground and we reaped the benefit of it.
‘You could see the difference after just two training sessions and it gave us the best possible chance going to Whitehawk.
‘He was brilliant at getting the players to think about what they were doing and why they were doing it.
‘We wanted to play a different system and he helped the players buy into it. I can’t believe he isn’t in a job somewhere.
‘We might have a reputation of being a bit tinpot but this was part of the professional approach that we apply.’
Daish’s intervention almost helped Borough pull off a tremendous win but Whitehawk denied them at the death with a stoppage-time equaliser.
Gosport had made the worst possible start – falling behind after only two minutes.
Tom Dunford miskicked at the far post and Danny Mills got in ahead of Brett Poate to score.
As a player and a coach, Daish has always been respected as a person who never gave up.
Some of that clearly rubbed off on the Borough players who shrugged off the setback to take charge in the second half.
Two goals in the space of as many minutes turned the game on its head.
George Barker found space in the area and gave the home goalkeeper little chance with a terrific strike on 71 minutes.
And from the restart, Barker slid Justin Bennett through to fired low into the corner.
‘We dominated play after half-time,’ said Pike.
‘We hit the post and their goalkeeper also pulled off a couple of excellent saves.
‘We pinned them back down the slope and they couldn’t get out.
‘There were chances to put the game to bed and when we conceded right at the death it felt more like a defeat.
‘They put four up front and threw the kitchen sink at us.
‘The important thing is we are still in the hat for the next round.’
Whitehawk drew 2-2 at Privett Park in National League South earlier this season, which suggests another tight clash is in prospect.
Gosport Borough: Ashmore, Cuthbertson, Williams, Carter, Poate, Woodford, Dunford, Ramsey, Wort (Barker, 30min), Bennett, Wooden. Att: 410