Borough beat Hawks to earn Boxing Day bragging rights

Gosport Borough midfielder Dan Wooden, right   Picture: Allan Hutchings
Gosport Borough midfielder Dan Wooden, right Picture: Allan Hutchings
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Gosport Borough claimed derby-day bragging rights after beating rivals Hawks 2-1 in an entertaining Boxing Day clash at Privett Park.

In a tale of two wonder strikes, it was the hosts who emerged triumphant with former player Lee Molyneaux’s own goal proving decisive as the Hawks ended the game with 10 men – owing to Brian Stock’s late dismissal.

But it was what went before all of that, which will define this engrossing National League South encounter.

Dan Wooden’s opening goal was simply spectacular, as he controlled a Rory Williams cross, before teeing himself up for a stunning overhead kick that flew past stunned Hawks goalkeeper Ryan Young.

Scott Donnelly levelled matters five minutes later with a brilliant strike of his own, slamming a 25-yard strike past the reaches of Nathan Ashmore in the Borough goal.

But play-off chasing Borough clinched the points before the half-time break when Williams’ low cross was diverted into his own net by Molyneaux.

Stock then saw red late on for the visitors after collecting a second yellow card in stoppage time for a second mistimed tackle of the day.

The visitors handed a start to new loan arrival Josh Hill – signed from Boreham Wood – in the heart of their defence as no less than five players lined up against their former clubs.

Borough boss Alex Pike named former Hawks players Ashmore, Brett Poate and Ryan Woodford in their XI with Molyneaux and Matt Paterson returning to their old stomping ground for Lee Bradbury’s side in front of a 1,313-strong crowd.

The game’s first incident of note saw Borough midfielder Mike Carter escape with just a booking on six minutes when he caught Hawks man Warren Cummings with a rash tackle on the halfway line.

If that was ugly, though, five minutes later Borough’s Wooden provided a moment of real beauty to hand the hosts the lead.

Rory Williams surged down the left and delivered a cross into the box, which Wooden flicked up to himself before executing a sensational overhead kick that crashed in off the underside of the crossbar.

No sooner had the Hawks fallen behing to a wonder goal, however, were they level through one of their own.

With 16 minutes on the clock, Donnelly found the ball in space 25 yards out before working it onto his left foot and curling an unstoppable effort past the despairing dive of Borough stopper Ashmore.

Ashmore was in the thick of the action 10 minutes later, though, when he got down well to save Theo Lewis’ low drive from the angle.

And that stop proved critical as the hosts retook the lead on 31 minutes.

The dangerous Williams collected a fine crossfield pass in his stride before firing in a low cross that Molyneaux only succeeding in diverting into his own net past helpless goalkeeper Ryan Young.

The Hawks were the first to go close after the restart when Brian Stock’s 20-yard thunderbolt was brilliantly saved by Ashmore on 51 minutes.

Moments later, though, the visitors thought they should have had a penalty, only for Lewis’ appeals to fall on deaf ears.

The midfielder appeared to take a nudge in the back under a high cross but referee Colin Lymer was uninterested.

Stock then took his frustrations out on Carter to join his counterpart in the official’s notebook.

Andy Robinson brought a save out of Young from a 25-yard free-kick with 20 minutes left to play as Gosport looked to clinch the game.

At the other end, Donnelly almost conjured a second sensational strike of the day when he picked up a misplaced Ashmore clearance on the halfway line and fizzed a first-time effort onto the top of the crossbar – to the backpedalling Borough keeper’s relief.

But the Hawks’ hopes of salvaging something from the game were ended when Stock received his second yellow card in stoppage-time.

Gosport Borough: Ashmore, Cuthbertson, Williams, Carter, Poate, Woodford, Barker, Harding, Robinson, Bennett, Wooden (Dunford, 60)

Subs: Wheeler, Lee, McDevitt, Wilde

Hawks: Young, Strugnell, Medway, Stock, Molyneaux, Hill, Cummings (Hayter, 60), Donnelly, Paterson (Mullings, 85), Lewis, Swallow (Dutton, 74)

Subs: McCarthy, Searle