Pike targets top-10 finish

Rory Williams scored the opener for Gosport Borough in their 2-0 win against Basingstoke last night
Rory Williams scored the opener for Gosport Borough in their 2-0 win against Basingstoke last night
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Alex Pike revealed he was no longer looking down at the relegation battle after his Gosport Borough side secured a 2-0 win over Basingstoke, which effectively secures their Skrill South safety.

A first-half strike from Rory Williams and a Dan Wooden special 13 minutes from time sealed another three points for Borough to take them nine points clear of trouble and up to 14th in the table.

But rather than worrying about staying in the division, Pike is now targeting a strong finish to the campaign and a place in the top half of the table.

The Borough boss said: ‘I’m not looking down any more, I’m looking up to be honest.

‘We could still get into the top 10 this season.

‘We were always in a false position as far as I was concerned because of the cup runs.

‘If we can get into the top half of the table and with the run to Wembley, it would not have been a bad season.

‘It gives us something to build on for next season.’

Williams was the stand-out player for Borough throughout the first half last night as his pace and quality caused plenty of problems for the Basingstoke defence.

But ex-Hawks striker Manny Williams also looked a handful for the visitors at times.

Tom Dunford was lucky to escape any punishment after a poor tackle that caught Robert Rice on the knee and should have been at least a yellow card as the defender hobbled off soon afterwards.

But clear chances were at a premium as neither goalkeeper was pressed into any meaningful action, until Williams netted his 13th of the season to nudge ahead of Justin Bennett in the race to become Borough’s top goalscorer in all competitions.

In truth, the visitors’ defence and goalkeeper, Louis Wells, should have done better as Williams raced on to a straightforward ball over the top.

And although the striker struck his shot cleanly, the keeper was unable to keep it out – despite getting both hands to the ball.

Basingstoke had little in response – and apart from a bone-juddering tackle from Lee Molyneaux on Adam Green and a rising Ryan Scott drive that narrowly cleared the crossbar, there was little to get the pulse racing.

But the visitors were so nearly level early in the second half when Nick Bignall’s angled drive clattered back off the inside of the far post, with Nathan Ashmore beaten.

Borough never looked unduly troubled after that, though, and effectively sealed the game with 13 minutes left when Wooden produced another terrific finish to add to his superb volley against Hayes & Yeading last week.

This time, he found space on the left flank, and with little on, he tried his luck and found the bottom corner with unerring accuracy.

Although Williams might have made it 3-0 nine minutes from time after he was released by Wooden’s clever pass, Wells spread himself well to save – but it had no impact on the result.

Pike said: ‘I thought we controlled the game from the first minute to the last and scored two good goals again. It was another good performance.’

GOSPORT BOROUGH: Ashmore, Molyneaux, Pearce, Poate, Forbes, Dunford (Woodward, 85), Scott, Smith, Wooden, Bennett, Williams (Wilde, 89). Unused subs: Sills, Brown, Richardson.