Cup exit leaves Borough boss fuming

George Barker scored Gosport Borough's opener
George Barker scored Gosport Borough's opener
Blu Boam in action against Bashley. Picture: Keith Woodland

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Alex Pike was left fuming as his nine-man Gosport Borough crashed out of the FA Cup after a 2-1 home loss to Whitehawk.

Dan Wooden and Justin Bennett were both sent off during the Privett Park replay, while the visitors had Nick Arnold dismissed as the game finished nine v 10.

But it was the Sussex-based club who earned a home tie with Poole Town in the next round, thanks to Jake Robinson’s cracking free-kick eight minutes from time, after George Barker’s early strike was cancelled out by Scott Neilson.

Pike was left questioning the performance of referee, Lloyd Wood, who never looked in full control of the game and appeared to get the Wooden dismissal spectacularly wrong.

The Borough boss said: ‘It’s a feeling of extreme disappointment and frustration.

‘Whitehawk are a team of ex-professionals, they have played the referee like an old violin and he has fallen for it.

‘My player (Wooden) just stood there. Their lad stamped on his foot and then grabbed him by the private parts and it’s my player who gets sent off.

‘If there was a movement towards him from Dan, it’s because he’s been grabbed.

‘The referee then told my players “if I got it wrong, I apologise”.

‘I’m sorry but that’s not good enough. This is the FA Cup and it’s worth a lot of money. You can’t make those sorts of mistakes.’

The impressive Barker cut in from the left and rifled in an unstoppable early shot to put Borough in charge as the home side had the better of the first half.

Wooden was given his marching orders on 21 minutes – presumably for what the referee deemed to be violent conduct in an altercation with Neilson.

But Arnold then followed him down the tunnel four minutes later after bringing down Bennett as he raced in on goal.

Whitehawk started the second half in the ascendancy and were back on level terms six minutes after the restart when Neilson diverted Robinson’s shot past Nathan Ashmore.

The Borough keeper was then forced into action as he made a couple of fine stops to deny Danny Mills and Neilson.

Both sides had their opportunities but they were both cursing their luck as they struck the post.

Tom Dunford’s long-range strike rattled the frame of the goal and Mills should have scored from close range.

But perhaps the key moment came when Bennett was shown a second yellow card to leave Borough down to nine men for the final 18 minutes.

With the home side tiring and huge spaces appearing on the pitch, Whitehawk won a free-kick on the edge of the box.

And Robinson struck home a peach of a free-kick to put an end to Borough’s Cup adventure for another season, although substitute Adam Bryce so nearly took the game into extra-time as he glanced a header wide in stoppage time.

Pike added: ‘It’s a missed opportunity. Going 1-0 up so early it was looking good but then how the game panned out, it will take a lot to lift the players for Ebbsfleet this weekend.’

GOSPORT BOROUGH: Ashmore, Wheeler (Bryce, 88), Woodford, Poate, Williams, Cuthbertson (White,85) , Dunford (Ramsey, 75), Carter, Wooden, Barker, Bennett. Subs not used: Gerrard, Wilde.