Lea-sy does it! Joe Lea’s double continues Gosport Borough’s promising start to the new Southern League Premier South campaign
Gosport Borough maintained their fine start to the Southern League Premier South campaign with a third victory in four matches.
Joe Lea struck twice and Nick Dembele opened his Gosport goal account in a 3-0 win over Chesham United at Privett Park.
The scoreline might appear a comfortable one, but Borough boss Shaun Gale could only really relax once Lea had netted his second on 79 minutes.
Dembele’s fine strike - a first time finish from Brad Tarbuck’s cross - put a gloss on the final score that was a little unfair on Chesham based on possession.
With a clutch of experienced players still unavailable - Ryan Woodford, Rory Williams, Matt Paterson and Mike Carter - Gale named an unchanged starting XI from the side that had won 1-0 at Weston-super-Mare the previous weekend.
Chesham went closest to breaking the deadlock early on, striker Eoin Casey sending a shot from just inside the left-hand side of the penalty area thudding against the bar with loanee keeper Bert White beaten.
Chesham’s David Rolfe rose highest at the far post, but headed a corner over the bar, before referee Lewis Sandoe waved away furious appeals for a penalty after White had brought down a visiting player after dropping a cross.
Borough took the lead on 33 minutes when Dan Wooden was brought down on the left-hand side of the Chesham penalty area.
Tarbuck’s right-footed free-kick was saved by Manny Agboola, but instead of pushing the ball away for a corner or to relative safety, he parried it back into the middle of the six-yard area where Lea reacted quickest to force the ball home from close range.
Chesham were forced into a tactical change shortly after, sacrificing right-back Isaiah Jones - already booked and struggling to cope with Tarbuck and left-back Harvey Rew - and bringing in T’Sharme Gallimore, moving Rolfe to right-back.
The second half opened with a flurry of bookings - Lea being cautioned in an incident which saw him come off worse, needing treatment for a facial injury.
Chesham showed a greater determination in the first 20 minutes of what was a scrappy period of play, without really threatening an equaliser. White certainly didn’t really have a decent save to make in the entire game.
Gosport looked far better when they were passing the ball on the floor, rather than hitting long balls which Chesham’s defence had little trouble dealing with.
The tedium was broken when Dembele latched onto a long ball in the left-hand channel and whipped in a cross which Lea, stretching at the far post, couldn’t get on target. Had he netted, it would have been a spectacular finish.
Pat Suraci had been Gosport’s super sub at Weston, coming off the bench and scoring the only goal. Here, he was introduced in the 76th minute and again played a big role.
Three minutes after coming on, he dribbled his way to the byline inside the penalty area before setting up Lea for another close range finish. It was Borough’s first on-target effort of the half and the game-clincher.
With their confidence levels now higher, and extra space appearing in the Chesham defence, Dembele’s low shot was palmed away by Agboola.
On 86 minutes, Gosport delivered a lovely goal.
Forest Green Rovers loanee Luke Hallet - on as a second half sub for his debut - found Tarbuck, who had switched flanks to the right once Suraci had come on on the left side.
The former Pompey and Hawks midfielder produced a first-time cross and Dembele, totally unmarked, finished first-time at the near post.
It was a goal that saw Gale celebrating on the pitch, pumping his fists in delight, at what was the game’s champagne moment.
Suraci’s shot was pushed away by Agboola for a corner as Gosport, tails totally up now, tried to repeat their opening-day four-goal Privett Park performance against Poole.
Time added on brought only one major incident - a very late foul by Chesham sub Deese Kisanga on Lea right in front of the Borough dug-out. Tempers became very heated, Lea was down for several minutes receiving treatment, Gale was booked for comments made, and Kisanga strangely wasn’t shown any colour card.
Gosport travel to north Hampshire on bank holiday Monday to face Hartley Wintney.
Gosport: White, Wheeler (Casey, 83), Rew, Huggins, Briggs, Bosma (Hallet 63), Lea, Lewis (Suraci, 76), Tarbuck, Wooden, Dembele.