Forbes plots final flourish

Andy Forbes on the pitch at Wembley after last season's FA Trophy final
Andy Forbes on the pitch at Wembley after last season's FA Trophy final
  • Gosport Borough defender confirms retirement
  • Borough travel to Farnborough in Hampshire Cup semi-final
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Andy Forbes is determined to end his non-league career on a high after confirming he’ll hang up his boots for the last time at the end of the season.

The Gosport Borough right-back has been a stalwart of the club’s two seasons in Vanarama Conference South and is expected to be in the back four again for tonight’s Hampshire Senior Cup semi-final showdown at Farnborough (7.30pm).

Forbes, who once netted a staggering 86 goals for Andover in one season, was also a prolific goalscorer during spells with Eastleigh, Winchester City, Sutton United and Woking, and has enjoyed a glittering career in the semi-pro ranks.

But the Reading-based 35-year-old has also proved he is a capable defender, and, after briefly retiring at the end of last season before returning to Privett Park, Forbes insists his decision is final this time.

Forbes, who works in the sales team of an IT security consultancy firm, said: ‘I don’t think there is any turning back this time.

‘Work has stepped up another level and it is taking its toll.

‘I’ve let the club know my intentions so they can start thinking about getting someone else in.

‘I have to travel all across the UK sometimes and that dictated my decision. I’m 35 now, I’ve had a good stint and I’ve enjoyed it.

‘I thought it was a good time to finish last season after the FA Trophy run but then I missed it as soon as the season started again and came back.

‘I’ve been very happy with my non-league career. I played in the FA Vase final, the FA Trophy final and I was non-league player of the year.

‘I couldn’t have wanted much more from a non-league career.

‘If we get to the play-offs, I’d love to help Gosport go up and then leave on a bit of a high.

‘And it would be nice to win a trophy in my final season, if we can win the Hampshire Cup.

‘It should be a good occasion and we want to be a part of that.’

Borough beat the same opponents 2-1 in the league on Saturday – a gritty affair as goals from Dan Wooden and Justin Bennett saw them come from behind to take the points.

Now Alex Pike’s side will be looking to seal another victory over the same opponents in the one-off semi-final, with either AFC Bournemouth or Sholing awaiting the winners.

Boss Pike has no plans to make sweeping changes to his line-up.

He said: ‘I’ve always prioritised all cup competitions. I’m a firm believer that you get into a winning mentality.

‘We showed that last season in the FA Trophy.

‘We had a terrible run of form in the league and then, all of a sudden, our Trophy form was transferred into our league form.

‘I’ve never won the Hampshire Senior Cup and I want to win it.

‘The club won it back in the 1980s and my coach, Tony Stares, has rammed that one down my throat enough times so I’d like to shut him up at the same time.

‘So I will go with my strongest side.’

Meanwhile, Nathan Ashmore’s red card he picked up against against Hayes & Yeading last week has been overturned after an appeal.

Pike said: ‘It’s the right decision and I’m pleased justice has been done.’

GOSPORT BOROUGH: Ashmore, Forbes, Pearce, Robinson, Williams, Carter, Smith, Dunford, Wooden, Paterson, Bennett, Wort, Allen, Saez, Ramsey, Wilde, Blackmore, Butcher.