Pike pleased with Boro comeback

Matt Paterson celebrates his goal. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150167-6)
Matt Paterson celebrates his goal. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150167-6)
Hawks boss Lee Bradbury. Picture: Habibur Rahman (170972-31)

Bradbury hails his steely Hawks

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Alex Pike came away happy, but also frustrated as his Gosport Borough side came from two goals down to draw 2-2 with fellow play-off chasers Ebbsfleet United.

The Boro’ made the worst possible start, falling behind after just 98 seconds thanks to Adam Cunnington, who poked home a deflected shot with ease.

Captain Brett Poate then limped off for Gosport with injury not long after, leaving the home side’s defence with no recognised centre halves for more than 70 minutes.

Cunnington grabbed his second just before the hour mark to give the 
visitors a two-goal cushion.

Pike’s side were staring down the barrel of just their third home defeat of the season.

The comeback was sparked on 65 minutes though.

Tom Dunford found Matt Paterson in the area and the striker stroked home through the onrushing goalkeeper’s legs.

It was Dan Wooden who took most of the plaudits, though, as his wonder strike drew his side level just three minutes later.

Collecting the ball 30 yards from goal, the midfielder, back from suspension, struck an unstoppable drive into the top corner.

Justin Bennett almost put 
the Privett Park side ahead in the final minute of stoppage time, however, when his free-kick struck the crossbar after hitting the wall.

Pike was delighted with the 
comeback and fight his team showed to get the draw, but knew they were very close to gaining maximum points.

He said: ‘The character my players showed was indicative of this squad.

‘We have an honest bunch here, who will fight for the club, the side and the manager.

‘As a manager, I have to be happy with the point but I always want three.

‘We could have nicked it in the end though, when Bennett hit the bar from the free-kick.’

The Boro’ boss was delighted with Wooden’s equaliser, but was not surprised that it was the former Moneyfields man who struck.

‘We spoke about the conditions at half-time and knew we could make the most of it,’ said Pike.

‘We had a shoot-on-sight policy and it was the first time it dropped to Wooden.

‘No goalkeeper would have saved that and it was fitting that should get us at least a point.

‘We all know he’s capable of that, which is why he came straight back into the side.’

Despite gaining a point against one of the most expensively-assembled squads in the Vanarama Conference South, Pike was left questioning why his side only played well after the second goal.

‘It’s not for me to speculate what the wage bill is at Ebbsfleet, but I think my chairman would have a heart attack if he knew,’ said Pike.

‘For us to get a point against a side like that, we have to be happy.

‘I have to ask the question of the players, though, and why we didn’t start playing as we could until we were two down.

‘If we had played like that from the start then we would have come away with all three points.’