Gosport Borough collect 'unbelievable result' as they overcome several issues to pick up point at high-flying Hayes & Yeading

Gosport Borough stood tall despite several setbacks to pick up a point from their Southern League Premier South trip to second-placed Hayes & Yeading.

By Lewis Mason
Sunday, 13th February 2022, 1:21 pm

Striker Dan Wooden had given Boro the lead on the half-hour mark before Ben Frempah levelled things up three minutes from the end of normal time as it finished 1-1 in London.

But the final result does not tell the whole story of the struggles boss Shaun Gale was faced with pre-match and over the course of the 90 minutes.

Josh Huggins was forced to pull out of the squad just three hours before kick-off because of a personal problem while full-back Harry Kavanagh injured his calf during the warm-up and was replaced by 18-year-old Crawley loanee Rafiq Khaleel, who filled in at right-back.

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The issues did not stop there though, as goalscorer Dan Wooden was taken off at half-time, also with a calf problem, while Rory Williams, who missed a first-half penalty, was withdrawn off with a hamstring injury on the hour mark.

So despite being slightly frustrated his men were unable to see things out and claim victory, Gale praised his squad for the ‘unbelievable’ effort given the issues they encountered on the day.

‘If I’m really, really brutally honest - if you’re going to Hayes & Yeading the first thing you don’t want to do is you don’t want to get beat - they’re a really good side,’ said the Boro boss.

‘What happened to us, from the events from 12 o’clock until kick-off - the events before and during the game - to actually come away with a 1-1 draw is an unbelievable result.

Dan Wooden, centre, is joined by Billie Busari, right, to celebrate his opener Picture: Tom Phillips

‘We lost Josh Huggins at 12 o’clock so he pulled out and we lost Harry Kavanagh in the warm-up with a calf injury.

‘I had no-one else to play there (at right-back), I had one other defender and that was Matt Casey, so I played young 18-year-old Raf (Rafiq Khaleel) there. He’s a midfielder but he has played right-back before a few times for Crawley. He was great.

‘The disappointment was the fact we conceded so late from a set-piece, but having said that they deserved it, if I’m being honest, they deserved at least a point out of the game. Obviously the disappointment is Rory missed a penalty, but that happens in football.

‘Then in the events of the game the result was even better. We lost Dan Wooden at half-time, he had a dead calf from a heavy challenge in the first-half, which just seized up.

Rory Williams missed a first-half penalty and was forced off injured after the restart in Gosport's draw at Hayes & Yeading Picture: Tom Phillips

‘We then lost Rory 15 minutes into the second half with a hamstring injury so we really were up against it against one of the better teams in the league then we ended up drawing the game. I really can’t complain.’

Chances had come at both ends before Wooden headed home midfielder Harvey Rew's cross to give the visitors the lead on the half-hour mark.

When Mason Walsh was brought down in the area with a penalty awarded eight minutes later it looked as though Boro would go in with a two-goal advantage at the break, although his spot-kick was saved.

Matt Paterson came onto replace the injured Wooden at the break while Williams was withdrawn five minutes after the restart with an injury issue.

Teenage Crawley loanee Rafiq Khaleel filled in at right-back after Harry Kavanagh's late withdrawal for Gosport at Hayes & Yeading Picture: Tom Phillips

But just when it appeared as though Gosport would collect all three points Frempah was on hand to fire home after the visitors had failed to clear their lines from a corner as it ended all square.