Pike happy for Borough to keep beneath radar

Gosport Borough captain Sam Pearce
Gosport Borough captain Sam Pearce
Andreas Robinson. Picture: Habibur Rahman

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Gosport Borough boss Alex Pike admitted his side did it the hard way as they came from behind to defeat Bath City 3-1 at Twerton Park last night.

But the manager confessed he was happy for his side to continue to go unnoticed as they mount a serious bid for the Vanarama Conference South play-offs.

A second-half double from skipper Sam Pearce and Dan Wooden’s injury-time goal cancelled out Dave Pratt’s 14th-minute opener and put memories of an ‘awful’ opening 45 minutes to bed.

The second-period salvo also gave Borough their fifth league win in six games as they continue to remain in the promotion hunt.

And Pike believes there’s still plenty more to come from his seventh-placed side – despite last night’s first-half difficulties.

‘To be fair, we had to do it the hard way,’ admitted Pike.

‘Quite frankly, we were awful in the first half and were lucky to come in just one goal down.

‘Bath’s rotation and movement was far better than ours and we got off lightly.

‘When we changed formation to play a higher line and get into their faces in the second half they couldn’t handle us.

‘My players couldn’t have given any more than they did in the second half, I am so proud of the way they played.

‘They all put a shift in and reaped the rewards for it.

‘You need to be mentally tough in this league, and when things go wrong learn from your mistakes and put them right. We did that last night.

‘I am quite happy for us to keep quietly going on about our business under the radar.

‘The refreshing thing for me is that this team don’t know how good they are and how good they can become.’

Neither team imposed themselves in the opening 10 minutes last night, mainly due to a lack of width in their game.

City, however, started to probe the Borough defence and forged into the lead after 14 minutes, with visiting keeper Nathan Ashmore at fault.

His poor clearance was picked up by Pratt, who burst forward. And although Ashmore saved his initial effort, the City striker easily netted with the rebound.

The away side were struggling to get a foothold in the game, and all Pike’s side had to show after half-an-hour’s play were a couple of corners which came to very little.

Another good Bath move down the right ended with Andy Watkins drifting a header past the near post.

And as half-time approached, Borough had an escape when Chas Hemmings headed over the top from a good position.

Uncharacteristically, Borough were looking uncertain and hesitant at the back when dealing with the home attacks.

The visitors showed increased intent at the start of the second half but lived dangerously when a Pratt effort bounced off the inside of the post.

Justin Bennett had Borough’s best chance soon afterwards when he headed narrowly wide from a Wooden cross.

Midway through the half, Lee Wort was sent on for Steve Ramsey, as Pike looked to increase his side’s fire-power.

Borough’s greatest threat had come from set-pieces and on 65 minutes they made it count to grab an equaliser.

A deep free-kick was delivered from the left and captain Pearce dispatched the ball past keeper Jason Mellor in confident fashion.

On 79 minutes, Borough then stretched their lead with a soft goal from another set-piece.

The delivery into the box was headed goalwards by Pearce. The ball hit the crossbar and bounced into the goal off the back of Mellor – but the referee adjudged the ball had already crossed the line from the defender’s header.

Mellor redeemed himself to deny Bennett his moment of glory.

But Wooden sealed the three points in stoppage-time with a third goal following an awful clearance by Mellor.

n Fareham Town progressed into the next round of the Portsmouth Senior Cup following a 2-1 win at Fleetlands.