Pike: Match should have been called off

Ellis Martin
Ellis Martin
Baffins Milton Rovers found it tough against Portland. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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MANAGER Alex Pike was stunned Gosport’s match with Stourbridge was given the go-ahead in difficult conditions at Privett Park.

Borough went on to lose 3-1 – and their Southern League premier division play-off hopes were dented in the process.

But they are not out of the race after rivals Barwell went down 3-2 to St Neots.

That bit of good news did not cancel out the bad for Pike, though.

The Gosport boss saw both teams reduced to 10 men as Dan Wooden’s goal was rendered meaningless.

He said: ‘I find it amazing that such a high-profile match was allowed to be played on a surface like I’ve never seen before in my seven-plus years as manager of the club.

‘It was a lottery out there and a decision to postpone the match may have been difficult for Stourbridge and their fans after their long journey.

‘But it would have been the right one under the circumstances.

‘It isn’t sour grapes. The truth is the match shouldn’t have gone ahead and to think that the Hawks match against Dover – not 10 miles from here – was abandoned, seems to speak volumes for what we believe should have happened here.’

Players from both sides were slipping and sliding about on a pitch that resembled a pond in certain areas.

Gosport fell 2-0 down as Sean Geddes and Ben Billingham netted.

Stourbridge then had Luke Benbow sent off and Dan Wooden sparked a Gosport revival with a well-taken strike.

But Borough sub Tom Dunford was dismissed for a bizarre stranglehold on his marker.

Billingham then hit the third to finish the contest for Stourbridge.

Pike added: ‘What is annoying is the fact that on a proper playing surface, I feel sure we would have beaten them.

‘Apart from having my say about it to the officials, there is nothing else we can do.

‘But everyone at the club has a belief that the play-offs are still in our sights.’