Gosport boss Gale ‘bitterly disappointed’ after early red card gives Borough FA Cup mountain to climb at Yate Town

Shaun Gale confessed to being ‘bitterly disappointed’ after Gosport Borough’s FA Cup dreams were ended at Yate Town.

Sunday, 19th September 2021, 1:53 pm
Elliott Wheeler walks off the pitch after his early red card at Yate. Picture: Tom Phillips

A week after beating the Bluebells 2-1 in a Southern League Premier South fixture at Privett Park, Boro went down 2-0 in a second qualifying round tie in south Gloucestershire.

It was always going to be an uphill battle for Gosport after Elliott Wheeler was red carded as early as the ninth minute.

The right-back was shown a straight red for a foul after allowing a Yate player to get in front of him following a long ball.

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Nick Dembele operated as Gosport's lone striker once Elliott Wheeler was awarded an early red card. Picture: Tom Phillips

Gosport reorganised with Joe Lea reverting to right back and Forest Green loanee Luke Hallett - who had started up front with Nick Dembele - pushed back into midfield.

After a goalless first half, Yate took the lead with a 57th minute penalty. Left-back Harvey Rew was punished for a foul and David Sims-Burgess put the hosts ahead.

The same player added a late second on the break.

‘I’m bitterly disappointed but I couldn’t have asked any more from my players,’ said Gale.

Ryan Woodford in action during Gosport's FA Cup loss at Yate. Picture: Tom Phillips

‘It was always going to be difficult after going down to 10 men so early.

‘If we had kept 11 on the pitch I’m sure we could have got something, be it a replay or a win.

‘They had a lot of the ball but we restricted them to only three and four shots, and two of those were outside the area.’

Gale had no complaints about the early dismissal. ‘Elliott is a senior player and he shouldn’t have allowed the player to get in front of him.

‘If that had been the other way around, I’d have been asking for a red card.’

Gale added: ‘Joe Lea could have scored after half-time (when it was still 0-0) if he’d hit his shot low rather than high. He’ll be disappointed with that.

‘The penalty was a bit harsh on Harvey Rew, but the referee was closer to it than I was.

‘I said a few weeks ago that to have an FA Cup run you need a little bit of luck, and we didn’t have that.’

Boro had been forced into late changes after centre half Matt Briggs and striker Dan Wooden - ever presents in the club’s impressive start to the Southern League campaign - both failed fitness tests.

Wooden had injured his ankle in the midweek draw at Swindon Supermarine, which only worsened as the week went on. And Briggs was absent with a hamstring injury.

Hallett, albeit temporarily, took Wooden’s role up front while ex-Pompey defender Matt Casey partnered Ryan Woodford at the back.

‘It’s all about managing the players,’ remarked Gale.

‘Hopefully Matt Briggs will just miss the one game. Had he played and broken down, you could be looking at him being out for six weeks - and that would be massive for us.

‘Matt Casey came in and was outstanding. I’ve told him he needs to start becoming a man now. Perhaps he’s one of those that will come late - he could be some player …’

Gosport host one division lower Sholing in the Hampshire Senior Cup on Wednesday.

Like he did in the recent Southern League Cup home loss to Sholing’s divisional rivals Winchester, Gale will field a mix and match XI.

That will almost certainly mean minutes for the likes of keeper Ellis Grant, Jake Wright, Adam Biss, Bouwe Bosma and possibly Pat Suraci.

Josh Huggins was back on bench at Yate, even though he was not 100 per cent after injury, while Brad Tarbuck could be back in contention for next Saturday’s home league game with Tiverton.

The Devonians have not started the season too well, winning just one of their seven games, and at the weekend were dumped out of the FA Cup by lower division Sholing.

‘I don’t want to lose any game but Tiverton is my priority – it’s a really big game,’ Gale declared. ‘We have to make sure there’s no FA Cup hangover.’