Gosport Borough host Hartley Wintney in huge Southern League Premier South relegation clash

Gosport Borough director of football Mark Molesley. Picture: Tom PhillipsGosport Borough director of football Mark Molesley. Picture: Tom Phillips
Gosport Borough director of football Mark Molesley. Picture: Tom Phillips
Gosport Borough can take a giant step towards safety with victory in a huge relegation six-pointer today.

Sixth-from-bottom Borough host fourth-from-bottom Hartley Wintney (3pm) knowing that a win will put them within touching distance of securing their Southern League Premier South status.

Director of football Mark Molesley said: ‘There’s no bigger carrot for us. It’s clear what we need to do and we will be a lot more comfortable when we do that.

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‘We’re fighting for our lives and we’ve got to embrace that pressure and bring out the best in us.’

With four to go down, Gosport are currently six points ahead of today’s opponents with a game in hand – and they possess a better goal difference.

So a Borough win would give them a nine-point cushion over Hartley Wintney, who after today will only have two matches remaining.

It would also mean that North Leigh would be the only side in the bottom four who could catch mathematically Gosport, although they at the moment trail Borough by six points and possess an inferior goal difference.

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A draw would suit Gosport far more than Hartley as it would maintain the six-point gap between the sides at present, with time fast running out.

But a Borough defeat at Privett Park would leave them just three points above Hartley and make for a nervy climax to the campaign.

Gosport go into the match off the back of a 1-0 defeat away to mid-table Tiverton Town on Saturday, the only goal coming via an Ed James header from a free-kick early in the second half.

Molesley said: ‘It was a really difficult game. The pitch was very, very challenging and it wasn’t one for the purists.

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‘You had to do the basics really well, and defend long balls and set-plays. We did that for the lion’s share, but we went loose for one moment and it cost us.

‘We probably had the best chance of the game and didn’t put it away. That’s the fine margins in football. We got what we deserved really.

‘It was just a battle. The margins between success and failure are very small on a pitch like that. You have to play the percentages and they did that a little bit better than us.’

Molesley is set to make a late call on team selection for today’s clash once he’s assessed how his players are bearing up following such a quick turnaround between matches.

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He added: ‘This is a challenging weekend for any footballer, let alone part-time footballers with a long journey as well.

‘We will need to see how everyone reports tomorrow (Monday). A couple of players came off yesterday, we’ll have to take a late check on them.

‘It’s been a challenging, long season and it’s been quite eventful. I think I’m yet to name an unchanged team and key personnel have been missing for long periods, but we’ve always responded, we’ve always come back and we’ve certainly got to do that tomorrow.

‘All the players have been training hard, working hard. We’ve got a fairly small squad with injuries, but whoever puts that shirt on has got to leave everything out there.’

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Hartley were also in action on Saturday and picked up a decent point from a goalless draw at home to leaders Weston-super-Mare.

Borough, who have taken four points from their last six outings, were beaten 3-1 in the reverse fixture against Hartley on Boxing Day.

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