Bumper crowd see Gosport Borough’s 100 per cent home Southern League record ended by 10-man Met Police

Gosport Borough’s 100 per cent Southern League Premier South home record was ended in front of one of the largest league crowds at Privett Park for several years.

By Simon Carter
Sunday, 10th October 2021, 1:09 pm
Gosport goalscorer Luke Hallett in possession. Picture: Tom Phillips
Gosport goalscorer Luke Hallett in possession. Picture: Tom Phillips

A bumper crowd of 802 saw Borough slump 2-1 to a Metropolitan Police outfit who played the final 25 minutes with 10 men.

It was the highest league attendance at the ground since 622 watched the final game of the 2018/19 campaign when victory over Wimborne guaranteed relegation-threatened Boro’s safety.

For comparison purposes, only 242 had turned up to watch the Met Police lose 6-3 at Privett Park that season - Ryan Pennery converting two penalties as part of his hat-trick.

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Joe Lea rises to meet a corner against the Met Police. Picture: Tom Phillips

Boro’s 802 crowd was higher than several in both the National League South and North Divisions, including the matches at Slough, Chippenham, Hampton & Richmond, Guiseley, Alfreton and Farsley Celtic.

The next highest in their division was the 628 crowd that watched Farnborough triumph 2-0 at Wimborne.

Suffering only their second loss in 10 SLPS fixtures in 2021/22, Gosport dropped a place to third - leapfrogged by a Farnborough team they travel to play in a mouthwatering Hampshire derby on Tuesday.

Having shattered US Portsmouth’s Wembley dream with a late leveller in last season’s FA Vase semi-final for Binfield, striker Liam Ferdinand fired the Met Police into a 15th minute lead after Boro had started brightly.

Bradley Tarbuck in action against the Met Police. Picture: Tom Phillips

Four minutes later, Will Wickham doubled the advantage. And though on-loan Forest Green Rovers utility player Luke Hallett reduced the arrears, Boro – who had won their opening four home league games, coming from behind in three of them - could not find a leveller.

Not even the 65th minute dismissal of Liam Robertson - for throwing Theo Widdrington to the ground - could prevent the visitors from claiming a fourth away league win from five outings.

The boys in blue remain one of only two unbeaten sides in the division, alongside leaders Hayes & Yeading who opened up a three-point gap over Gosport and Farnborough - with a game in hand as well - following a late winner at lowly Dorchester.

‘For the first 15 minutes we didn’t let them have a kick,’ rued Gosport boss Shaun Gale. ‘They scored with their first attack and then after we gave the ball away cheaply they scored again, with a good finish.

Nick Dembele in possession. Picture: Tom Phillips

‘We had a lot of the ball, we penned them in their own half in the second half, but we didn’t work their keeper enough. That was the frustrating part.

‘We had the possession, but that alone isn’t enough. They managed the game well after the sending off.

‘Overall, I thought we deserved at least a point but we didn’t really have the rub of the green. They are a hard team to play against, they haven't lost yet and you could see why.

‘It’s a little bump, and you’re going to get bumps in the road.

Tempers rise in the second half. Picture: Tom Phillips

‘If anyone had offered me where we are after 10 games I’d have taken it.

‘The players have been fantastic for me all season. They were fantastic again yesterday, it’s just a four or five-minute spell that’s cost us having dominated the opening 15 minutes - that’s the frustrating thing.

‘We’re not going to get carried away when we win, and we’re not getting carried just because we’ve lost.

‘We’ve a big game on Tuesday and we need a reaction, we have to go to Farnborough and get something.’

After trips to Farnborough and Truro, Gosport’s next home game is on Wednesday, October 20 against table-topping Hayes & Yeading.

Gale is hoping the supporters who turned up in their numbers against Met Police will return.

‘It’s not a five-minute job,’ he claimed. ‘Gosport has been in the doldrums for a long time.

‘It was a fantastic crowd we had and I’d like to think, even though we lost, they liked what they saw.

‘They saw a team prepared to work hard and scrap for every ball, who are together and who can play some good football, but who just didn’t get the rub of the green.’