Gosport Borough made to pay for missed opportunities as play-off hopes take a dent with defeat to high-flying Taunton Town

Gosport Borough failed to make their chances count as they fell to defeat against fellow Southern League Premier South promotion-chasers Taunton Town in a pulsating clash at Privett Park.

By Lewis Mason
Saturday, 26th March 2022, 5:09 pm
Gosport's Bradley Tarbuck came close to netting early in the second-half against Taunton Town Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 120821-)
Gosport's Bradley Tarbuck came close to netting early in the second-half against Taunton Town Picture: Chris Moorhouse (jpns 120821-)

Tobias Holmes was on hand to poke home on 84 minutes as the high-flying Somerset side extended their league unbeaten run to 21 matches with a 1-0 triumph.

But Boro, themselves hoping to remain in the hunt to secure a play-off finish, could count themselves unfortunate to come away from the open encounter empty-handed.

Bradley Tarbuck struck the post with a smart header early in the second-half while Dan Wooden, Billie Busari and Luke Hallett all had chances to at least claim something from the game.

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And, despite some brilliant saves from Ellis Grant in the Boro goal, it was Taunton who edged victory with a late effort to maintain their title charge while handing Shaun Gale's side a huge dent in their race to claim a top-five finish.

Boro made a very bright start and were adamant they should have had a penalty when Billie Busari went down following a tackle in the area from Ioan Richards on five minutes, yet referee Alex James waved play on.

Gosport continued on the front-foot with Luke Hallett chesting a dangerous Rory Williams free-kick into the arms of William Buse, while Busari saw an effort from just outside the area deflect just wide all inside the opening 17 minutes.

The first-half continued in an open manner, although the home bench were not best pleased with Taunton's physical approach at times, with Luke Hallett making a crucial block from Gethyn Hill after he had been allowed in behind too easily on 26 minutes.

Boro were then afforded a real let-off seven minutes later when Benjamin Adelsbury looping header after meeting a corner cannoned back out off the post - Gosport then managed to scramble away the danger as Taunton threatened again.

Gosport came out with real intent after the restart with Bradley Tarbuck, after some clever trickery, and striker Dan Wooden forcing Buse into a smart double save just two minutes after the break.

Tarbuck then came within a whisker of handing the hosts the lead on 50 minutes, only to see his glancing header from Rory Williams' cross come back off the same upright which had denied Taunton in the first-half.

Both teams kept pushing as Buse was out quickly to smother at the feet of Wooden, who was attempting to get on the end of a cross.

Gosport had to do some defending of their own as Williams did just about enough to put Hill off just before the hour mark as he looked to side-foot the visitors in front from inside the area.

Wooden hooked an effort just wide with his back to goal after meeting Harry Kavanagh's cross as Boro kept pushing for an all-important opener.

But Gosport then had goalkeeper Ellis Grant to thank for keeping things level with a couple of fine saves.

First, he kept out Tobias Holmes' drive from an angle with his feet then he showed great agility to get down low and save from substitute Ross Staley from just inside the area on 77 minutes.

It was Taunton who were coming on the stronger in the closing stages and Holmes was on hand to tap home from all of three yards after meeting a cross on 84 minutes.

Despite seven minutes of stoppage-time, Boro were unable to find a way through Taunton as their play-off hopes took a huge dent.

Gosport Borough: Grant; Hallett, Woodford, Briggs, Tarbuck, Wheeler, Carter, Williams, Busari, Rew, Wooden. Subs: Kavanagh (Busari, 45), Dembele (Carter, 82), Huggins (Hallett, 87), Lee, Khaleel.