Gosport keep ‘cool’ and carry on

Wes Fogden. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Mick Catlin applauded Gosport for keeping their cool after they defeated Paulton Rovers at Privett Park.

Borough’s assistant manager was delighted to see the hosts ‘graft away’ to the final whistle and boost their promotion hopes with another three points.

Lee Molyneaux and Nathan Kirby both found the net in the first half as Gosport kept pace with the league’s leading sides.

‘They were no surprise to us,’ said Catlin.

‘We always knew it was to be a real battle and so we prepared accordingly.

‘What was important is we kept passing the ball to feet and doing whatever necessary defensively to make sure we kept a clean sheet.

‘In fact, the three points have lifted us well clear of them and keeps us in touch with the teams at the top.

‘So, effectively, it was a match we needed to win and that’s exactly what happened.

‘A result that the lads deserved for keeping their cool and grafting away until the final whistle.’

The triumph did not come without a bruise or two, though.

Rovers were determined to make it a heated encounter on the pitch – with Ben Osman lucky to escape a red card for a two-footed tackle on Adam Wilde.

Meanwhile, Borough boss Alex Pike was not out of the firing line in the technical area as he was flattened by the full force of colliding players on the touchline.

Regardless, the manager would have taken the knee injury – which forced him to sit out the final 25 minutes with an ice pack for company – to ensure his promotion dreams remained intact.

The Gosport backline of Molyneaux, Gavin Jones and Brett Poate gave as good as they got, though, and never looked like conceding.

Steve Claridge was in fine form up front but it was two other men with Pompey connections who combined for the first goal.

The improving Ellis Martin lifted an inch-perfect free-kick in for Molyneaux to head home at the far post.

Midfielder Nathan Kirby was also in fine form for Borough.

And he thoroughly deserved to double the advantage just before the interval when he shook off several challenges before going clear to beat Kyle Phillips from close range.

Earlier Phillips twice denied Justin Bennett with fine saves, while Wilde – who replaced Kirby after he had suffered a neck injury – was also a coat of paint away from a third.

Nathan Ashmore, who had been a spectator for much of the game, then eclipsed all of Phillips’ work with a wonderful save to deny Osman a consolation as Rovers rallied late on.