Pike calls on Gosport to grasp play-off opportunity

Gosport enjoy reaching the play-offs after beating St Neots 1-0. Picture: Sarah Standing (131163-4948)
Gosport enjoy reaching the play-offs after beating St Neots 1-0. Picture: Sarah Standing (131163-4948)
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Alex Pike has tasked his Gosport troops with finishing the job after a 1-0 victory over St Neots secured their place in the Southern League premier division play-offs.

A second-successive promotion was not the goal for Borough at the start of the season.

But thanks to Rory Williams’ winner – in front of more than 500 fans at Privett Park – and a favour from Frome Town at Barwell, they are two victories away from joining the Hawks in the Blue Square Bet South.

Now they face a trip to league runners-up Stourbridge on Tuesday night in the semi-final – while Chesham United and Hemel Hempstead do battle in the other tie.

Borough boss Alex Pike said: ‘We really set out to establish ourselves at this level this season and perhaps make our move for promotion later.

‘But here we are, having reached the play-offs following a monumental run of results that took us from near bottom to where we are – and deservedly so.

‘The number of fans who all stayed behind waiting to hear the news was simply incredible and shows what interest the club have generated locally.

‘Before we go to Stourbridge I may have to pull back a couple of players we loaned out to Wessex League clubs.

‘Both Aaron Cook and Brett Poate are injured and Danny Smith picked up a knock against St Neots which makes him a doubt.

‘So it’s a question of wait and see.

‘But it’s important to push on and see if we can earn ourselves back-to-back promotions.’

Williams kept the dream alive as his coolly taken 44th-minute goal secured Gosport’s victory in the sunshine.

The striker burst clear of the cumbersome visiting defence to round keeper Jack Giddens and slot home from a tight angle.

Williams, Adam Wilde, Dan Wooden and Jamie Brown all went close to making the win more convincing but Borough had done enough, thanks to Frome’s 1-1 draw at Barwell.

Gosport: Ashmore, King, Martin, Woodward, Molyneaux, Brown, Igoe, Smith, Wooden, Williams, Wilde. Substitutes: Bennett, Wilson, Kirby, Poate, Ender.