Defender Ryan Woodford starts another three-game ban as Gosport Borough boss Gale admit: ‘I don’t want to be doing ok, I want to do well’

Gosport Borough defender Ryan Woodford starts his second three-game ban of the season over the festive period.

By Simon Carter
Friday, 24th December 2021, 11:01 am
Ryan Woodford starts another three-game ban against Hartley Wintney on December 27. Picture: Tom Phillips
Ryan Woodford starts another three-game ban against Hartley Wintney on December 27. Picture: Tom Phillips

The former Hawks centre half starts a suspension when Hampshire rivals Hartley Wintney visit Privett Park on Monday (December 27, 3pm) in the Southern League Premier South.

Woodford, sent off at Wimborne last weekend, will also miss the New Year’s Day trip to Salisbury and the home clash with Walton Casuals on January 8.

The player had previously missed three league games in November after being red-carded in a stormy FA Trophy loss to Salisbury.

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Midfielder Mike Carter, in contrast, will be available on New Year’s Day after completing a three-game ban against Hartley.

‘We’ve got injuries, supensions, illness - just like everyone else,’ stated Boro boss Shaun Gale. ‘It is what it is.’

The shock 2-1 loss at rock bottom Wimborne extended Gosport’s run to just one win in seven games.

Despite taking just six points out of a possible 21, though, Boro enter Christmas in fifth place - occupying the final play-off spot.

Farnborough, Met Police and Hayes & Yeading are all looking good for a top five finish. After that, it’s anyone’s guess.

The pack is closing behind Boro – Taunton are breathing down their necks now after hammering Harrow 7-1 in midweek - and Gale remarked: ‘The boys need to produce.

‘We need to do better, we know that as a group.

‘We’re still fifth, we’ve done ok - but I don’t want to be doing ok, I want to be doing well.’

Matt Briggs, who has been ill for several weeks and didn’t play at Wimborne, could come back in against Hartley in place of Woodford. Josh Huggins and Elliott Wheeler are two other central defensive options.

Up front, Nick Dembele remains sidelined with the Achilles injury he suffered against Kings Langley in mid-November.

‘He’s just started running again in training,’ reported Gale. ‘It’s taken longer than we thought. It was a nasty kick on the Achilles but what probably made it worse was he played on for 20 minutes after telling us he was ok.

‘He’s been a big miss, he’s strong and powerful and runs in behind.’

Gale has brought striker Ryan Pennery - a ‘fox in the box’ - back to Privett Park and he also celebrated his return with a goal at Wimborne.

After coming off the bench in the second half, Pennery quickly netted - only to see the strike controversially ruled out for offside.

‘He wasn’t offside but there’s no point harping on about it,’ said Gale.

‘We need another striker. We’ve got Nick Dembele out and Matt Paterson’s feeling his way back after injury. We only had Dan Wooden.

‘We create a lot of chances and Ryan knows where the net is. When I was at Havant I liked him when he was playing for Moneyfields.’

Hartley are fourth bottom but recently sprang a shock by beating second-placed Met Police 1-0. Top scorer Jordan Edwards - a former Swindon Town professional - converted a penalty, his seventh league goal of the season.

Against that, Hartley have also lost twice to Beaconsfield and were thumped 5-0 at fellow strugglers Kings Langley.

Hartley’s sole away league win this term was 3-1 at Weston-super-Mare in September.

Former Gosport striker Sam Argent has been skippering the club in recent weeks, while Salisbury loanee Dan Fitchett has also been up front.