GOSPORT BOROUGH beat Bridgwater Town 2-1 at Privett Park to lift their hopes of a charge for Southern League division one south & west promotion glory.
Leading goalscorer Justin Bennett netted a first-half brace to get Borough back on song after their loss at Tiverton last time out.
But the hosts were forced to dig deep after Dan Wooden was red carded.
‘For us it was a very important victory and one that we hope can take us back into a run of winning results,’ said assistant manager Mick Catlin.
‘We were missing Steve Claridge, Lee Molyneaux and Aaron Cook but were still confident the side the manager selected would do a job on the day and take all three points.
‘And even with 10 men for much of the game, the lads did everything we asked of them and thoroughly deserved it.
‘Bridgwater did make it tough for us but we applied ourselves well as a unit and that helped see us through to the final whistle.’
Borough boss Alex Pike would have been delighted with the contribution of youngsters Liam Sewell, Aiden Lewis and Ross Langworthy.
They showed they are not far off becoming regular starters with accomplished displays.
Sewell proved a perfect strike partner for Bennett until he tired late on.
Langworthy then stepped off the bench to run the Bridgwater defence ragged before having a goal ruled out for offside just before the final whistle.
Borough missed reliable centre-backs Molyneaux and Cook.
But Gavin Jones used all his experience to frustrate the Bridgwater strikers.
Jones was ably assisted by Ellis Martin and Brett Poate in defence.
Bennett fired Borough into an early lead before Wooden committed a foul under the gaze of referee Adrian Tranter, who brandished a red card.
But even without Wooden, Borough still continued to boss much of the play.
And Bennett showed all his class with a swivel of the hips to take him past a couple of Bridgwater defenders before fizzing a shot into the net off the base of a post.
Just before the interval, Borough keeper Nathan Ashmore let slip a long-range free-kick from Bridgwater’s Ollie Barnes and the ball rolled into the corner of the net.
Midway through the second half, Borough’s new permanent signing Ashmore more than made amends.
He produced a stunning fingertip save to deny Kye Palmer.
And moments later, Palmer fired against the Borough crossbar.
That was as close as Bridgwater came and Gosport held out to take the points and keep their bid to reach the play-offs on track.