Gosport not throwing in the towel in survival bid

Wes Dugan
Wes Dugan
Dave Wheaton and the Fareham Heathens. Picture: Neil Marshall (171152-317)

Double trouble for heroic Heathens

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NOTHING less than a win will do for Gosport & Fareham as they entertain Wimbledon at Gosport Park tomorrow.

Two away defeats on the bounce have put a serious dent in Gosport’s survival hopes in London one south.

They are six points behind nearest rivals Havant with just six games of the season remaining.

Coach Scott Ashley is adamant they can still pull off a miracle escape – but the charge has to start tomorrow.

‘We are not prepared to throw in the towel just yet,’ said Ashley.

‘The pressure is on and we can’t afford the gap between us and the clubs above to get any wider.

‘Everyone is remaining positive and convinced we can stay in this level.

‘This is a big game for us and I expect us to go into it with all guns blazing.

‘Wimbledon were promoted with us last season and are fourth in the table so it will be tough.

‘We are capable of causing an upset, though, and have the quality in our side to beat them.

‘It is all about belief and determination and we have plenty of both.’

Ashley is able to field a strong looking squad for the crucial test, although captain Ben Madigan and Matt Flower remain injured.

Influential outside-half Sam Foster returns and brothers Wes and Wayne Dugan are reunited.

Two of the three youngsters who made a big impression on their debuts at Beckenham – wing-forward Sean Sheppard and full-back Tom Lewis – retain their places.

‘It is a tall order but we have to take the game to Wimbledon and make sure that we perform,’ added Ashley.

‘We have shown we can compete and beat sides at the top and have to do it again.’

Defeats at Old Colfeians and Beckenham still hurt.

Gosport were the first team this season to have their colours lowered by basement side OCs.

The pain increased a week later when they were undone by a Beckenham in the final minute of the game.

Before that Gosport had revived their hopes of staying up with two home wins.

They need to return to that sort of form if they are to survive.

Four of their final six games are at home and Ashley believes that can prove a crucial factor.

He is confident the Gosport crowd can give them the boost they need.

Ashley said: ‘The supporters at Gosport have been like a 16th man all season.

‘They get behind the team and make it an intimidating place for the opposition to play.

‘The players have been lifted by that all season and hopefully it will continue to work in our favour.

‘The whole club is maintaining its momentum and enthusiasm and will do so whatever happens.’