Borough forced to do it all again

Justin Bennett. Picture: Dave Haines
Justin Bennett. Picture: Dave Haines
Ben Wright is in good scoring form. Picture: Keith Woodland

‘All or nothing’ as Gosport get set for Dunstable trip

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Alex Pike felt his Gosport Borough side should already have booked their place in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup after they were pegged back for a 1-1 draw at Maidenhead United.

Justin Bennett’s 13th goal of the season put Borough in charge midway through a cracking first half when he rose to head home Steve Ramsey’s corner from close range.

And the visitors looked like they would go on and put the game to bed in a purple patch where they dominated the play.

The influential Ramsey went close with several attempts, including one deft chip that was brilliantly tipped onto the crossbar and over by the goalkeeper.

Mike Carter was bossing the midfield, while Bennett and Matt Paterson looked a constant threat, although the final ball was occasionally lacking when they looked certain to carve out a tap-in for each other.

At the other end, Brett Poate and Sam Pearce kept DJ Campbell well shackled.

And the former Premier League striker wasted his only real sight of goal when he was unable to hit the target with a free header early on.

But Borough were made to pay for failing to hammer home their authority when Maidenhead snatched an equaliser before the break.

With the ball bobbling around after the defence were unable to clear their lines from a corner, Harry Pritchard reacted first and blasted home.

Although Pike felt Borough still had the opportunities to win after the break, the game became a more cagey affair on a heavy pitch that was increasingly boggy because of the heavy showers.

Paterson saw a late side-foot volley well saved but a winner failed to materialise, which means both sides will face a replay at Privett Park tomorrow night (7.45pm).

Pike said: ‘It’s a feeling of frustration and disappointment.

‘But I suppose the first objective is to make sure we were in the hat and we have at least achieved that.

‘On the balance of play and the chances created, I thought we were worthy winners.

‘We had a really good spell in the first half and should have made it 2-0 or 3-0.

‘We should have made that period tell but we didn’t.

‘But I felt we played better in this game than we did when we beat Hemel Hempstead 4-0 last week and we’ve only come away with a 1-1 draw.’

With new signing Ashley Harris left on the bench, Pike has also brought in another midfielder in the shape of Byron Mason, although he is Cup-tied having turned out for Sholing already this season.

The Borough boss said: ‘When Jamie Brown left the squad, we lost that dog in the midfield who has that physical presence.

‘Byron Mason will give us something different in midfield that we will need over the coming months.

‘It was just gut instinct not to bring Ashley on for this one or make any other changes.

‘We were still creating chances and if I brought him on and we lost, people would ask why I did it.

‘Sometimes, it’s a case of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

‘Ashley knows he will get his chance with us and it might be on Tuesday.’

GOSPORT: Ashmore, Forbes, Pearce, Poate, Williams, Carter, Smith, Wooden, Ramsey (Dunford, 83mins), Paterson, Bennett. Subs not used: Matthews, Wilde, Wort, Harris, Saez, Woodward.