Boss lauds Gosport ‘focus’ after physical point

Gosport boss Alex Pike. Picture: Paul Jacobs (123109-3)
Gosport boss Alex Pike. Picture: Paul Jacobs (123109-3)
Gosport have taken a lift from Craig McAllister's leadership. Picture: Keith Woodland

Gosport encouraged ahead of Redditch trip

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Alex Pike was pleased after his Gosport Borough side earned a point from a physical battle with Chippenham Town.

The Privett Park boss has now steered his troops to 12 Southern League premier division matches without defeat.

On a sloping, heavy pitch, Borough displayed a steely determination to snatch a 0-0 draw in the face of a physical onslaught from their Wiltshire hosts.

Pike was delighted with the character shown by his team and hinted they could easily have come away with all three points.

‘It was most pleasing to keep a clean sheet and grind out another point away from home,’ he said.

‘We were up against big, physical, narky and niggly opponents but dealt with it.

‘There were plenty of elbows flying around and Chippenham were more intent on the physical nature of the game.

‘But we maintained our focus and stood up to the challenge.

‘I also thought the referee handled it quite well, although, he could have sent one of their players off for one horrendous tackle.’

In the first half, Borough played down the slope with the wind in their favour but struggled to master the conditions.

Passes were overhit and the visitors had to weather an early storm.

Goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore turned a Toby Osman shot over the bar and Borough also had to clear a goalbound shot off their own line.

After the break, they began to pass the ball better and created more chances.

The best effort came from striker Justin Bennett, who forced a flying save from the home goalkeeper with a poked shot from the edge of the area. Bennett went close again in the closing minutes but Borough had to settle for a point.

‘To go 12 games unbeaten is a great achievement in any league,’ said Pike.

‘It shows we are starting to find our feet in the premier division.

‘We have turned the corner and this game shows we are able to adapt and get points from different styles of game.

‘It also shows the importance of a good squad because we had to make some changes.’

The return of central defender Sam Pearce to the Hawks was a blow to Borough and they were also without experienced midfielder Sammy Igoe because of a hamstring injury.

Youngsters Ellis Martin and Dan Woodward stepped into the breach and earned the praise of their manager.

‘I have high hopes for both players,’ said Pike.

‘Like all youngsters they have a tendency to switch off at times and this game was a good experience for them.

‘They are the type of gifted players who can grow with the club.

‘We want to be a Blue Square Bet South side and hopefully they can help us get there and play at that level.’