Gosport Borough battlers stand firm to continue flying season start with impressive Weston-super-Mare win
Shaun Gale hailed his Gosport Borough battlers as they claimed a second Southern League Premier South triumph in three games.
Substitute Pat Suraci proved the difference, firing home nine minutes from time to ensure Boro bagged a 1-0 win at Weston-super-Mare.
Boss Gale had spoken about Gosport's testing opening three fixtures prior to the big kick-off, with a home opener against Poole Town being followed by trips to Walton Casuals and Weston.
But Boro, with six first-teamers ruled out of their latest league clash, have managed to collect maximum points against Poole and Weston - two teams Gale is adamant will be battling at the top of the division come the end of the campaign.
Although there was defeat at Walton in between those two wins, the Gosport boss could not be happier with the encouraging early signs.
And he saluted his youthful side for standing up to the test on the road at Weston.
Gale said: ‘I think where we are as a team, two out of three against two of what will be the top sides, to win - be it one home and one away - is a good start.
‘Yesterday I had six players missing, six players who, no disrespect to those playing, would be expected to be playing.
‘Rory Williams, Mike Carter, Harry Kavanagh, Bradley Lethbridge and Matt Paterson are all injured and Ryan Woodford is unwell at the moment.
‘We’ve got some key players who are not available to us. Yesterday, for the battling display we put in, were worthy of the win.
‘One thing Pat Suraci can do is finish and he showed yesterday what a great finisher he is.
‘The lads, you know, it was a battling display. We had to defend in the final 10 minutes but Bert didn’t have to make a save.
‘They’re a good side, Weston, they’ll be up there but credit to my lads, they gave their all on what was a long journey to come back with three points.’
Weston were denied by the woodwork three times before Suraci's clincher.
But Gale felt his side gave as good as they got - particularly in a bright opening to the game.
The Boro boss explained why he dropped goalscorer Suraci to the bench - and was delighted to see his pre-match preparations pay dividends at Weston.
Gale said: ‘We changed it yesterday and played Elliott Wheeler at right-back, who did fantastic. It was nothing against Joe Lea but I wanted Joe’s energy in midfield and he was excellent.
‘Pat Suraci, I left him out because of the way I wanted to play, we played with a slightly different shape and it caused them a lot of problems early doors.
‘He was unlucky not to be playing (Pat), I just felt we needed to play slightly different so it meant he had to come out of the team for that reason.
‘The pace that we had in the team then caused them a lot of problems. At some stage I knew he’d (Pat) get on the pitch.
‘I put him on at Beaconsfield last season and he scored two and he came on again yesterday and scored.’