Gosport set for crunch time in battle to avoid drop

Gosport and Chichester do battle. Picture by Louise Adams C130512-7
Gosport and Chichester do battle. Picture by Louise Adams C130512-7
Dylan Raubenheimer. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

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IT’S all or nothing for Gosport & Fareham tomorrow as they chase last-gasp survival in London one south.

Scott Ashley’s team host Hove at Gosport Park and must win to have any chance of staying up.

They also need rivals Beckenham to lose their local derby at Sidcup.

It will undoubtedly be a tense afternoon.

But coach Ashley believes Gosport can make up their one-point deficit on Beckenham and complete the great escape.

‘I fully believe we are good enough to stay up,’ said Ashley.

‘We simply have to win.

‘If you look at our results over the past four or five games, we’ve beaten Wimbledon and other top sides.

‘Our only slip up was the Hampshire Cup against Portsmouth and that doesn’t count.

‘We have got a head of steam up, have home advantage, and we believe we can still do this.

‘Sidcup won’t roll over in a local derby against Beckenham – I know that for a fact.

‘But Beckenham know how to scratch out results, although they have not done that recently.

‘The advantage sits with us, although we are by no means favourites, despite being at home.’

Ashley and his players can take a lot of confidence into the game after last week’s performance at high-flying Chichester.

Gosport dug deep to produce a tenacious performance.

They went down to a 29-0 defeat but that was by no means a battering against the powerful home side.

Gosport felt the final score did not accurately reflect the game as they battled hard for territory throughout the contest.

Come the end of the match, Chichester certainly knew they had been in a game.

The visitors were disappointed not to come away with a bonus point which they felt their performance warranted.

It was an encouraging display, however.

And Ashley is convinced his team can carry momentum forward into their clash with Hove.

He believes the added boost of playing in front of a partisan and vociferous home crowd can make all the difference.

‘The fact we are at home gives us a lot of confidence,’ said Ashley.

‘We have to reproduce our determined performance at Chichester but maybe be a little more ruthless when chances come along.

‘Our supporters have been great all season and make Gosport Park an intimidating place for opponents to play.

‘They have been our 16th man. They have got behind the players and never once got on their backs when things were not going well.

‘I am expecting another big crowd to cheer us on in this decisive game.

‘Our players will step up to the mark and handle the occasion, I am sure.

‘We feel we deserve to stay at this level.’

Gosport may be without forward Chris Thompson for the clash with Hove.

He could be involved with the Royal Navy, who are preparing to do battle in an upcoming game with the Army.