ASSISTANT MANAGER Mick Catlin believes solid defence could prove the key as Gosport Borough visit National League South newcomers East Thurrock United (3pm).
Borough picked up their first away point in a 0-0 draw at Dartford in midweek with their first clean sheet of the season.
If Alex Pike’s side can remain just as tight at the back tomorrow, Catlin insists Borough always possess the fire-power to nick goals at the other end.
He was disappointed that Gosport had to settle for a draw at Dartford after the home side were reduced to 10 men early on.
‘We felt maybe we should have gone on to win it, having the extra man from early on,’ said Catlin
‘We could have snatched it right at the end when Ben Wright’s point-blank shot was somehow turned over the bar by the goalkeeper.
‘To be fair, the sending off was a bit harsh and Dartford felt very aggrieved.
‘They dug in and defended deep after that, making it difficult for us to break them down.
‘Before the game we would have accepted a point and a first clean sheet
‘It was important to get our first point away from home and must look to build on that.
‘Our away record in the last two seasons has been good and we are aiming to improve it even further this time around.’
Borough have looked far more secure at the back since moving Joe Oastler into a defensive-midfield position.
In the 3-0 opening day defeat at Maidenhead United, he started at the back but that left Borough exposed in front of the back four.
Manager Pike was quick to recognise this and made the change for the next game.
Former Pompey player Oastler, who has also been made captain, has thrived in his new role.
‘It is a role Joe has played before in his career and the move has worked for us,’ said Catlin.
‘He is a good all-round defender and sweeps up a lot of balls in front of the back four.
‘When opponents do manage to split our back four he is also capable of dropping deeper to deal with it.
‘With the rest of our midfield players being more attack-minded he plays an important role for us’.
New goalkeeper Martin Rice has also done well since joining from Truro City in the summer and played his part.
All the time Borough stay solid at the back, they possess the forwards to hurt opponents at the other end of the pitch.
Warren Bentley has already fired five goals in the opening four games and is forging a dangerous-looking partnership up front with Chris Flood.
Big target man Ben Wright also returned to action as a substitute at Dartford after missing the previous two games with injury.
Gosport Borough: Rice, Bird, Cuthbertson, Oastler, Pearce, Poate, Carter, Dawson, Harding, Bentley, Flood, Wright, Lanahan, Wilde, Bailey, Bufton