Trophy heroes relishing league return

Gosport's Sam Pearce. Picture: Paul Jacobs (133298-6)
Gosport's Sam Pearce. Picture: Paul Jacobs (133298-6)
Privett Park

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Gosport Borough turn their attentions back to the Skrill South as third-placed Eastbourne Borough visit Privett Park tomorrow (3pm).

Alex Pike’s side won a dramatic penalty shootout to knock Skrill Premier rivals Nuneaton Town out of the FA Trophy on Tuesday night.

Borough now have to get their feet firmly back on the ground as they return to the realities of a relegation battle.

They head into the important holiday period just one place above the drop zone – as goal difference is keeping their noses in front of Maidenhead United.

Pike believes his team can climb away from the trap door.

But he admits they will have to be at their best against the Sussex visitors.

‘It was a tremendous win at Nuneaton and we can take a lot of confidence from it,’ said the Borough boss.

‘We have now gone something like 540 minutes without conceding a goal which always bodes well for a team.

‘The Christmas period is massive and in my eyes it starts this weekend.

‘Then we have games against the Hawks (two) and Basingstoke, which we are all looking forward to.

‘There is not a lot of difference between the bottom and the top in this division, so they are all going to be hard, close-fought games.

‘We have won our last three league games and have been good at home.’

A major reason for Borough’s defensive solidity is the outstanding form being shown by central defender Sam Pearce.

The ex-Hawks centre-back has been in the form of his life providing a commanding presence in the heart of the Gosport back line.

Pearce has blossomed under Pike and the faith the manager has shown in him.

His experience sees him read the game well, while his distribution has shown a huge improvement.

Fellow defenders Brett Poate, Ian Richardson, Lee Molyneaux and goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore have also played major parts.

Ashmore has trained with Pompey and has also benefited from the arrival of goalkeeper coach Wayne Shaw at Privett Park.

Shaw was lured away from Sutton United a fortnight ago and Pike believes he is already having an impact on the keepers.

One area Pike wants to see improve, however, is his team’s lack of goals.

‘I am well aware that we are not scoring enough goals,’ said the manager.

‘There are four strikers at the club all capable of scoring but they are just not on song at the moment.

‘Hopefully they can sort themselves out over the Christmas period.

‘We are creating lots of chances but not sticking them away.

‘Our strikers need to be far more clinical in front of goal.

‘I may have to consider bringing others in if we can’t sort it.

‘At the moment it is our defence keeping us in with the chance of winning games.’

Central defender Richardson returns to the squad after being cup-tied in the week.

Gosport Borough: Ashmore, Molyneaux, Poate, Pearce, Forbes, Dunford, Woodward, Smith, Gosney, Sills, Bennett, Barfoot, Wooden, Williams, Igoe, Wilde, Richardson