Borough out-gunned by early onslaught

Lee Wort nets Borough's third goal. Picture: Dave Haines
Lee Wort nets Borough's third goal. Picture: Dave Haines
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Gosport have taken a lift from Craig McAllister's leadership. Picture: Keith Woodland

Gosport encouraged ahead of Redditch trip

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That’s the trouble with the FA Cup.

Amid all that clichéd chatter of romance, those pesky potential banana skins and the misty-eyed talk of those famous giant-killings from yesteryear, they tend to sweep episodes like this under the carpet.

As a contest, it could have been declared dead inside 26 minutes of Privett Park carnage.

If the vet had been on hand to administer the lethal injection to put Borough out of their suffering, it would have been done in the blink of an eye.

In fact, some Borough fans made that very same judgement call as they got up from their seats and headed down the steps of the main stand as Freddie Sears converted the penalty to make it 3-0.

Whether they were going home to sulk, heading to the clubhouse bar to drown their sorrows or simply beating the half-time rush to the tea hut was unclear.

But their faces certainly suggested they’d had enough and they never made it back to their original seats.

A one-sided match is never an enjoyable experience and the gulf was obvious for the vast majority of the first half.

On this occasion, Goliath was not in a charitable mood when David picked a fight with him.

Whether Borough froze on the big occasion, paid too much respect to their opponents or were simply outclassed is open to debate.

It might have been a combination of all three.

But thankfully, after those first 26 minutes, it was far more even, much more competitive and it looked a lot more like the FA Cup that we all know and love.

Unfortunately, the damage was already done by that point.

A League One team against opposition from their own division will rarely let that kind of lead slip.

Expecting it to happen against a part-time team from three divisions below is foolish.

If you were looking for some old magic in this neck of the woods, you’d have been better off switching on a repeat of a Paul Daniels show.

Although Justin Bennett breathed life into the game six minutes before the break to raise a glimmer of a pulse for Gosport, Colchester delivered the final telling blow in first-half stoppage time.

Even those hopeless romantics in the crowd knew there was no chance of another famous FA Cup chapter happening as they queued up for their half-time cuppa with Borough trailing 4-1.

But Alex Pike’s side certainly showed their pride.

Fears of a total humiliation were dispelled and Borough gave it a go in the second half, scoring two more goals.

There was certainly no disgrace in the final 6-3 result.

But anyone expecting a cauldron of an atmosphere before kick-off was left disappointed.

Whether the fixture clash with Pompey, the Remembrance Day events or the fact that Borough hiked their usual prices for the game were the reasons behind a disappointing attendance, we can only speculate.

But to get just over 2,000 for such a historic game was a real shame.

Those who were in the ground made themselves heard and enjoyed the occasion but the noise died down when Colchester took a grip on the game.

Dreams of a big FA Cup shock were already looking slim when Colchester took an early lead as Gavin Massey smashed home from close range.

Sean Clohessy provided an inviting cross, Sanchez Watt saw his header come back off the foot of the post and although Brett Poate got a block in on Massey’s first attempt, the striker made no mistake with his second.

Colchester had already looked comfortable in the opening phase of play and the goal settled them down even more.

Frankly, it was far too easy for them to knock it around with Borough finding it hard to get close enough to get tackles in.

Colchester made it look very easy with some slick passing that you don’t see too often in the Vanarama Conference South.

Former West Ham man Freddie Sears set up the second goal as he raced away to latch on to a long ball and then picked out Sanchez Watt who blasted home an emphatic volley.

Sears then etched his name on the scoresheet with a confident spot-kick when Poate chopped him down after rounding Nathan Ashmore.

The only reason you could find for Poate somehow surviving what looked like a certain red card was that referee Lee Collins felt a bit sorry for Borough.

Poate – who is normally a solid defender and a character you can depend on – had a game he will want to forget in a hurry.

Even he looked surprised that it wasn’t red.

As Sears jogged away to celebrate, that slight queasy feeling may have crept into a few Borough stomachs as they contemplated a cricket score heading their way.

But they rallied in courageous style to restore pride.

The recovery was started by Bennett as he displayed his sharpness in front of goal to steer home Ben Gerring’s low cross after Colchester failed to clear a corner.

All of a sudden, Borough had their spring back in their step.

But that soon went again when Alex Gilbey ran unopposed through the Borough defence from the halfway line to make it 4-1.

Pike changed things at the interval, drafting Adam Wilde on for Steve Ramsey and Borough looked a lot more solid with Mike Carter turning in another impressive display in midfield.

Bennett made amends for spurning a good chance just seconds before when he lifted the spirits by dragging another goal back, finishing with confidence after Matt Paterson slipped him through on goal.

But Colchester were always in control of the game.

Sears made it 5-2 eight minutes from time after Poate capped a miserable afternoon by gifting possession to Watt, who burst down the left and eventually found the former West Ham man to trick his way past Ashmore and run the ball into an empty net.

Substitute Sammie Szmodics clipped home a sixth before Gosport sub Lee Wort replied almost immediately to wrap things up with a smart finish via the inside of the post.

It was over as a contest in the first half but Borough can take credit for the way they refused to throw the towel in.

That glorious upset may have failed to materialise but this was a slice of history for Borough in their first visit to the first round proper.

They will certainly remember it and now it’s down to them to make sure this is not a one-off.