Mike Carter turned in a match-winning performance in Gosport Borough’s 1-0 Vanarama Conference South win at Sutton and insisted: We haven’t given up on the play-offs.
Victory at Gander Green Lane on Saturday afternoon saw Alex Pike’s side climb to fifth place in the league table and occupy the final play-off spot on goal difference from Whitehawk, who have a game in hand on Borough.
With boss Pike dismissing his side’s promotion credentials on the back of a three-game goalless losing streak before their trip to Surrey, relief was the buzzword when Carter opened the scoring in the first minute.
Steve Ramsey’s cross wasn’t dealt with and when the ball fell to the former Sholing man, he smashed the chance home with the clinical nature of a top striker.
‘We have been struggling to put chances away in the last few games, which isn’t like us,’ said Carter.
‘It didn’t matter who scored on Saturday, it was just a case of someone putting it in the net.
‘I don’t score many goals, so I thought it was best to pop up at the right time!’
In a game that could be likened to an old fashioned war of attrition, it wasn’t just the goal that the combative midfielder contributed.
Despite picking up his almost-customary yellow card, Carter was a key figure in the centre of the park for a Gosport side that are now firmly back in the play-off shake-up.
The midfielder said: ‘The games don’t get any easier and each one is a massive battle out on the pitch. Even in the last few games that we have lost, it has taken a big effort from all the players throughout the 90 minutes.
‘It wasn’t the prettiest of games but, at the end of the day, we got the three points and that’s all that matters.
‘After the run we have been on, a win was crucial.
‘And I am just happy to have secured that.’
Carter, who stepped up from the Wessex League when joining Gosport from Sholing in the summer, was delighted to secure a clean sheet to go alongside his goal.
He said: ‘A clean sheet was vital after the last few results and it required a lot of hard work from the boys.
‘It was never going to be easy, though, and we needed the three points from the game.’
Borough may now lie in the play-off places but, with teams around them having played less games and a total of 15 points still to play for, anything can happen.
‘This result puts us in a good place going forward and hopefully the win will give us some momentum,’ said Carter.
‘With not many games left, we’re going to push as hard as we can and see where it takes us.
‘There’s going to be teams dropping points before the end of the season and we need to take advantage.
‘All we can do is win our games, then see what happens.’
Gosport Borough: Ashmore, Forbes, Williams, Carter, Poate, Pearce, Ramsey, Smith, Wort (Wooden, 81min), Bennett, Robinson
Subs not used: Wilde, Saez, Dunford, Benham