Gosport on the up

Alex Pike has led Gosport Borough to their second straight promotion via the play-offs
Alex Pike has led Gosport Borough to their second straight promotion via the play-offs
Theo Lewis scored for the Hawks in the 38th minute at Wealdstone. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Good show on the road as Hawks impress to beat Wealdstone

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Gosport Borough have won promotion to Blue Square Bet South after a dramatic penalty shootout play-off final victory at Hemel Hempstead.

First-half goals from Luke King and Adam Wilde looked to have Borough cruising to their second straight promotion via the play-offs.

But the Hertfordshire side made for a dramatic Southern League premier division final with two goals in the final seven minutes - including a leveller deep into stoppage-time - to force a 2-2 draw and the extra 30 minutes.

Despite that huge blow, Gosport kept their heads and held on for penalties.

And it was Alex Pike’s men who won the shootout 5-4 when Matt Nolan’s spot-kick was saved by Nathan Ashmore and Sammy Igoe slotted in the crucial fifth.

It means Gosport will be playing in the sixth tier of English football next season - the highest level in their 69-year history - and will also have a derby with the Hawks.

Borough got off to the perfect start at Vauxhall Road when King headed home Sammy Igoe’s corner with just one minute on the clock.

Hemel were lucky not to be reduced to 10 men as Anthony Massiat pulled down Rory Williams with the Gosport striker clean through on goal.

But from the resultant free-kick, Wilde thundered in a strike to give keeper Sam Beagle no chance and double Borough’s lead.

Hemel stepped up the pressure after the break and ensured a nervy finale when they pulled a goal back seven minutes from time from substitute David Hutton.

Then, deep into stoppage-time, Gosport were left stunned as Victor Osobu picked up the ball and fired in a 25-yard leveller to take the match into extra-time.

It was still to be their day, though, as King, Wilde, Ellis Martin, Justin Bennett and Igoe all netted in the shootout to seal a promotion party for Borough.

Southern League premier division play-off final

HEMEL HEMPSTEAD TOWN 2 (Hutton, Osobu)

GOSPORT BOROUGH 2 (King, Wilde)

Gosport win 5-4 on penalties

Hemel Hempstead Town: Sam Beagle, David King, Ryan Parsons, Dan Talbot, Anthony Massiat, Moussaka Diarra, Alex Campana, Jordon Parkes, Dave Pearce, Matt Nolan, Ryan Charles. Subs: Steve O’Leary, David Hutton, Victor Osobu, Jake Gilbert, Mark Osborn.

Gosport Borough: Nathan Ashmore, Dan Woodward, Ellis Martin, Luke King, Lee Molyneaux, Jamie Brown, Sammy Igoe, Ryan Scott, Dan Wooden, Rory Williams, Adam Wilde. Subs: Justin Bennett, Nathan Kirby, Dan Smith, Sam Wilson, Anthony Ender.