Gosport Borough boss Gale salutes wide boys after Southern League victory over Walton Casuals

Shaun Gale saluted his wide boys as play-off hopefuls Gosport Borough recorded back-to-back Southern League wins for the first time since early November.

By Simon Carter
Sunday, 9th January 2022, 12:11 pm
Billie Busari runs at the Walton Casuals defence. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Billie Busari runs at the Walton Casuals defence. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

A close range effort from Mason Walsh midway through the second half gave Boro a hard-fought Privett Park victory over Walton Casuals.

Following on from the 5-0 New Year’s Day romp at Salisbury, it was the first time Boro had kept two successive Premier South clean sheets since August.

Gosport’s win moved them to fourth place, as Chesham’s game was off, but it’s very tight at the top in the battle for a top five finish - Taunton, Yate and Weston-super-Mare would all go above Boro if they won their games in hand.

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Mason Walsh battles for possession with Walton skipper Joshua Lelan. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Gale praised wingers Walsh and Billy Busari, whose desire to run at defences was a key feature in the latest victory.

With ex-Pompey and Hawks winger Brad Tarbuck and Nick Dembele soon to regain full fitness, Boro have good options out wide.

‘It’s something that we’ve missed,’ said Gale. ‘At one stage we weren’t playing with any wingers - Mason was ill, Brad Tarbuck was injured, Billy Busari was injured.

‘In the last two games our wide players have caused teams massive problems.

Billie Busari is tackled. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

‘Billy’s had a few injuries but how he’s fit. He can run at people - not a million stepovers but raw pace. He’s only 19 but he’s a good athlete, a strong lad.

‘He’s done really well the last few games and Mason Walsh has done fantastic as well. He’s really come into his own.

‘We’ve worked on getting him to think more about his game, rather than being a one-trick pony.

‘We’ve got good options in those areas. AJ (Dulwich loanee AJ Harris-Sealy) can play through the middle or out wide.

Gosport striker Dan Wooden, right, v Walton Casuals. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

‘Brad Tarbuck still needs more training and Nick Dembele could be in contention for Poole next Saturday.’

Gale has not been able to name an unchanged starting XI since August, and that was again the case in the wake of hammering Salisbury as Rory Williams was out with Covid.

It will again be the case at eighth-placed Poole next weekend as midfielder Elliott Wheeler was forced off at half-time against Walton with an ankle injury.

‘We’re waiting for the results, but it’s ligament damage at least - Elliott could hardly get his boot off and was in a lot of pain.’

Mason Walsh is fouled by Walton Casuals captain Joshua Lelan. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Gale could have selection problems coming up, which isn’t something he has been blessed with in 2021/22.

‘Matt Paterson and Rory Williams were out with Covid, but they should be back again for Poole.

‘Ryan Woodford is available after suspension and, for once, I could have most of my senior players available. That’s massive.

‘It’s been a tough season with injuries, illness, suspension, Covid, but hopefully now we’ll have near enough a full squad to choose from.

‘I haven’t had that all season.

‘Against Walton we had Josh Huggins, Matt Briggs, Mike Carter - those three make you far more competitive. There’s experience right down the core, the spine. That’s something we have missed.

‘Some times we’ve had to put square pegs in round holes, but now we feel there’s a much better balance in the side.

‘There’s now competition for places which is healthy.’

Gale has confirmed that ex-Hawks midfielder Oxford-based Theo Lewis has left the club for personal reasons. ‘We thank him for all his hard work,’ said the manager.

Lewis joined Gosport in the summer of 2019 after leaving Westleigh Park, but joined Hungerford last summer. However, within a few weeks he was back with Boro, and his last game had been as a started in the dismal December 27 home loss to Hartley Wintney.

Utility player Joe Lea, meanwhile, remains absent, after informing Gale in the autumn he wanted to take a break from playing.

Lea was finding it hard to juggle his coaching roles at the Gosport Centre of Excellence with coaching at AFC Bournemouth and training twice a week for Boro and matchdays.

‘It’s a shame as Joe is a good player,’ said Gale. ‘He was regularly in my team and he’s been a massive loss.

‘Pat Suraci’s still out after dislocating his knee (in the autumn) - he’s also been a big loss.’