Pike fears season could implode after Cup exit

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Hawks boss Lee Bradbury. Picture: Habibur Rahman (170972-31)

Bradbury hails his steely Hawks

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GOSPORT saw their FA Cup run ended at home as they lost 2-1 to Slough Town last night.

And manager Alex Pike now fears their season is in danger of collapse if his men do not improve quickly.

He said: ‘We got ourselves into a great position and then allowed ourselves to get beaten up.

‘We were vulnerable at set-pieces and that was unacceptable.

‘Our season is in danger of imploding.

‘I am now looking for players to step up to the plate.’

Jamie Brown had put Borough ahead but strikes from Dominic Rhone and Danny Burnell earned Slough a date with Mansfield in the first round proper.

Gosport made one change to their starting line-up, with striker Steffan Gaisie coming in for Luke King, who dropped to the subs bench.

Gaisie threatened early on but was just beaten to the ball by visiting keeper James Warrington.

Work-horse Brown dominated midfield as Borough kept the pressure on the Rebels.

But clear chances were hard to come by.

Striker Justin Bennett volleyed Ellis Martin’s cross high over the top.

He then headed a Sammy Igoe cross into the keeper’s arms.

Slough went close to breaking the deadlock on 25 minutes.

Burnell turned inside the area and volleyed narrowly over the bar.

Borough hit the front on the half-hour mark.

Brett Poate delivered a high free-kick to the far post, where Brown forced the ball into the net after winning a challenge with Warrington.

The Rebels protested their keeper had been fouled but the referee allowed the goal to stand.

Borough spurned a chance to add a second when Dan Wooden headed over from a good position.

Before the break, Slough’s Alex Brown threatened with a downward header which bounced up over the crossbar.

It remained a tight affair in the second half but on 57 minutes the Rebels forced an equaliser.

Borough were slow to react to a Slough corner-kick and Rhone turned to fire home.

Boosted by the goal, the visitors pushed forward and Borough keeper Nathan Ashmore had to beat out Burnell’s fierce drive.

Borough’s Cup dream turned into a nightmare on 72 minutes.

Burnell held off Lee Molyneaux, raced into the area, and planted his shot past Ashmore for 2-1.

Borough then sent on Dean Stow in place of Gaisie but struggled against a determined Rebels defence.

The home side started to lay siege to the Rebels goal and Poate sent a drive flashing past the foot of the post.

When Slough broke out, Ashmore kept Borough in the tie with a flying save to tip over Ed Smith’s effort.

As the minutes ticked away, Borough’s forward charge became increasingly frantic as they saw their FA Cup hopes fading away.

Danny Smith crashed a 30-yard free-kick against the top of the crossbar in stoppage-time but Borough couldn’t find a way through.

Gosport: Ashmore, Woodward, Martin, Brown, Molyneaux, Poate, Igoe, Smith, Gaisie, Bennett, Wooden. Subs: Cook, Wilde, King, Stow, Ford, Norton, May.

Slough: Warrington, Fraser, Rhone, Brown, Bowden-Haase, Woozley, Burgess, Deeney D, Burnell, Smith, Swift. Subs: Sonner, Abbey, Logie, Sinclair, Murphy, Deeney A, Vassell.

Referee: D Woolford (Andover).