Gosport handed huge incentive to beat Bath in FA Trophy replay … Hawks boss unhappy with his side’s away draw

Gosport Borough have been handed a huge incentive to beat Bath City in Wednesday’s FA Trophy replay at Privett Park.

Monday, 25th November 2019, 1:58 pm
Updated Monday, 25th November 2019, 2:03 pm
Steve Claridge, right, pictured on his Gosport debut in the FA Trophy tie against Sholing in October 2011. Claridge scored the only goal and the two clubs will meet again this season if they both progress past the third qualifying round.

The winners have been given the luxury of a home tie in the first round proper against either Sholing or Paulton Rovers.

A home tie against a team playing a level below is a dream draw for Borough, and manager Lee Molyneaux views it as a great opportunity.

'It is a great chance for whoever wins our replay,' he said.

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'We see it as a huge carrot dangling in front of us and an extra incentive to go out and beat Bath City.

'Our aim is to do everything we possibly can to make sure that we get through.

'We have managed to bring Bath City back to our place where we play a different brand of football.

'If we get through then we have a point to prove against teams playing a level below us.

'To progress in cup competitions you always need a little bit of fortune with the draw.

'Our focus first, though, has to be winning our replay against Bath.'

Sholing's tie against Southern League Division 1 South rivals Paulton Rovers was postponed at the weekend due to a waterlogged pitch.

The two sides are hoping to successfully decide the tie on Tuesday and Borough are sure to have a few observers in the crowd.

The last time Gosport met Sholing in the FA Trophy was in October 2011, when ex-Pompey striker Steve Claridge - then 45 - celebrated his Borough debut with the only goal of the tie at Privett Park.

More recently, the pair met in the final of the Hampshire Senior Cup at Fratton Park in 2015 - goals from Justin Bennett (penalty), Adam Wilde and Matt Paterson giving Borough a 3-0 success.

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Hawks face a tricky FA trophy first round trip to fellow National League South opponents Chelmsford City.

When the two sides met in the league at Westleigh Park in August, they fought out a 0-0 draw.

The visitors will take confidence from the fact that they are yet to be beaten away from home in the league, but Chelmsford have only lost twice in 10 league games at home.

The first was a 3-1 loss to leaders Wealdstone in early October, before a stunning 6-2 thrashing by Oxford City earlier this month.

Hawks manager Paul Doswell admitted it wasn't the greatest of draws.

'It is never attractive when you get paired with a team you already play,' he stated.

'From my point of view it would have been nice to play someone different or a National League team.

'It is a tough game because Chelmsford have got some good players.

'I can't really understand why they have struggled in the league.

'For us it is a winnable game and they will probably think the same.

'People will view it as a 50-50 game.

'It is a competition in which we want to progress so we will have to go there and do a job.

'Our away form is better than our home form this season.

'Teams tend to attack us more away from home and that creates more space for us.'

Chelmsford are currently 12th in the National League South, nine places and 11 points adrift of Hawks - and they have played two more games.