Gosport Borough’s poor Southern League form continues with shock home defeat to lowly Hartley Wintney

Promotion hopefuls Gosport Borough’s run of poor results against teams in the bottom half of the Southern League Premier South was extended today.

By Simon Carter
Monday, 27th December 2021, 6:22 pm
Jordan Edwards curls home the second of his hat-trick goals direct from a free-kick at Privett Park. Picture: Tom Phillips
Jordan Edwards curls home the second of his hat-trick goals direct from a free-kick at Privett Park. Picture: Tom Phillips

A hat-trick from ex-Swindon Town professional Jordan Edwards gave lowly Hartley Wintney a shock 3-1 success at Privett Park.

Shaun Gale’s side would have slumped to their heaviest loss of 2021/22 but for a late consolation from sub Billy Busari.

Boro have now managed only one win from their last eight league games, five of which have been in front of their own supporters, but remain fifth.

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All five of those games have been against teams in the bottom half, with defeats against Swindon Supermarine and Hartley Wintney and draws against Dorchester and Kings Langley.

Gosport’s sole win in that eight-game run was against rock bottom Wimborne, only beaten 2-0 at Privett Park via two goals in the last 15 minutes.

Today’s result made it back-to-back league losses for Boro following on from a 2-1 loss at Wimborne before Christmas.

Gale had claimed Boro played well in Dorset and were left to rue being on the end of poor refereeing decisions.

There were no such excuses this time as Gosport slumped to a deserved defeat against a Row side who had only won one of their previous eight league games (a 1-0 victory over second-placed Met Police, courtesy of an Edwards penalty).

Boro fell behind within the opening 40 seconds and rarely looked capable of getting back on level terms before Edwards completed his treble with two goals in the second half.

The Row made a stunning start when Sam Argent’s 35-yard diagonal ball found Edwards in space on the left side of Boro’s 18-yard box. Cutting back inside, he fired in a right-foot shot which keeper Bert White got a hand to but could not prevent from crossing the line.

The goal was initially given as a Gosport OG - the ball was hacked clear by a defender with the linesman confirming to referee Lewis Sandoe that it had crossed the line. But once the Southern League Dubious Goals Panel had intervened, it was credited to Edwards.

The visitors looked the more dangerous side going forward throughout, with Edwards on the left side and the pacy Kingsley Eshun on the right a constant threat.

In a first half of few chances at either end, the nearest Gosport came to a leveller was when Harry Kavanagh’s right wing cross was flicked on by Dan Wooden and Theo Lewis, stretching, could only head straight at Lewis Hoy.

The Row keeper was making his league debut for the club but wasn’t seriously tested as Gosport struggled to piece many passing moves together.

The hosts’ best chance came six minutes into the second half when Mason Walsh broke down the right side and sent in a low cross which Rory Williams, arriving at the back post, fired wastefully wide.

A minute later centre half Matt Casey kept Boro in the game. Edwards broke through the centre and was bearing down on White when the former Pompey defender stretched out one of his long legs and produced a textbook sliding tackle.

Gale made a double substitution on 54 minutes, bringing on striker Ryan Pennery and attacking midfielder Busari. The latter had been due to start but arrived late at the ground after being caught up in a traffic accident en route from London.

The pair replaced midfielders Lewis and Bedsente Gomis, two of Boro’s most experienced performers but who were both peripheral figures throughout until being hooked.

Edwards doubled the Row’s lead on 66 minutes. Walsh dragged down right back Ryan Case just outside his own 18-yard box and Edwards curled a right-footed free-kick around the wall and past White’s dive.

With Boro hardly looking like scoring once, let alone twice, this was virtually game over. And that was definitely the case on 83 minutes when Edwards completed his hat-trick to seal his side’s second away league win of 2021/22 and their first since a triumph at Weston-super-Mare in September.

Eshun left Casey for dead on the main grandstand touchline, in front of the Gosport dugout, and sprinted clear into the 18-yard box before passing along the six-yard box for Edwards to jubilantly tap into an empty net.

Busari, who certainly added fresh energy to Boro’s performance after coming on, netted a 90th minute consolation, running onto a through ball from fellow sub Brad Lethbridge to score with a first-time shot.

There were five minutes of added time but the hosts failed to muster another effort on goal as the vast majority of the 642 crowd - Boro’s second best home league crowd of the season - traipsed away wondering when their side’s poor form will end.

Gosport: White, Kavanagh, Rew, Huggins, Casey, Wheeler, Lewis (Busari, 54), Gomis (Pennery, 54), Williams, Wooden, Walsh (Lethbridge, 84).

Hartley Wintney: Hoy, Case, Hamblin, Drage, Taylor, Bayley, Wylie, Allen (Halliday, 90), Argent, Edwards, Eshun (Cursons, 90+2).