Frome frustration for Pike

Borough keeper Nathan Ashmore for a virtual spectator in the 0-0 draw
Borough keeper Nathan Ashmore for a virtual spectator in the 0-0 draw
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Ryan Pennery in action for Gosport Borough against Stratford. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

Pike: Time is running out for Gosport Borough

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Gosport Borough boss Alex Pike was left to rue his side’s wastefulness in front of goal as they were held to a goalless draw by Southern League premier division strugglers Frome.

The Privett Park side were determined to extend an impressive league run that has seen them go 12 games undefeated and flirt with the prospect of a play-off place.

But while Borough were successful in lengthening their unbeaten form, they had to make do with a second successful home draw without a goal.

That made Pike frustrated at the final whistle last night.

Yet he still found positives to take away from the game – in particular, another clean sheet for goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore.

‘I was disappointed with the result but we’ve only got ourselves to blame,’ said Pike.

‘We didn’t make the most of our chances or set pieces against a defence which, frankly, were very ordinary.

‘Frome came here quite happy to defend and travel home with a point.

‘In the second half, we should have had a penalty when Dan Woodward was brought down in their box.

‘But, again, the referee and his assistant failed to see what everybody else in the ground saw.

‘What is pleasing, though, is that we kept a clean sheet and never once did Frome look like scoring.’

Wooden made a welcome return to the Borough ranks following a holiday and immediately resumed his strike partnership with top-scorer Justin Bennett.

Meanwhile, Jamie Ford earned a recall to the starting XI in place of Tom Dunford, who dropped to the substitutes’ bench for the visit of the Somerset outfit.

The refreshed Wooden was quickly in where it hurts when challenging for a loose ball on the edge of the Frome penalty area, only to come out second best following a hefty challenge from defender Ryan Bennett.

As Borough pushed for an early advantage on a pitch that began to freeze under the heavy frost, Bennett wasted a good chance to open the scoring as he galloped clear, only to blaze his effort wide from 10 yards.

Bennett then had a free-kick blocked, and as the ball ran loose, team-mate Dan Woodward hammered his first-time effort just over the visitors’ crossbar.

Still Borough failed to make the most of their creative play as Woodward set up Danny Smith, who fired goalwards, only to see his shot fly over the target.

On 35 minutes, Bennett chased a route-one clearance from goalkeeper Ashmore, but the striker just failed to test Darren Chitty in the opposition goal as he produced another woeful effort that flew yards wide.

Just before the interval, Borough so nearly paid for their wastefulness when Frome striker Dave Gilroy eased through before ramming his shot against the base of the post from an acute angle.

As the second half got under way, and with Borough pouring forward in an effort to break the deadlock, Bennett finally got a shot on target which had the beating of keeper Chitty.

However, out of nowhere arrived Frome defender Tom Evans to somehow clear the ball off the line and to safety.

Several heated exchanges ended with visiting striker Gilroy earning himself a yellow card, with team-mate Evans quickly following him into referee Maurice Taylor’s book for descent.

Borough’s appeal for a penalty were then ignored by the Southampton official after Woodward was chopped down on his way through on goal.

Frantic finishing cost Borough again when Woodward decided to let fly with a hopeful shot from 35 yards, rather than take the easier option of picking out either Wooden and Bennett, who were in acres of space and with the goal at their mercy.

Just before the final whistle, Frome also showed their wastefulness match Borough’s when Matt Smith was given the freedom of Privett Park to go clear.

But with just Ashmore to beat, he delayed his finish and the chance was lost.

Next up for Borough is an away game at St Albans City on Saturday.

Gosport Borough: Ashmore, King, Martin, Poate, Molyneaux, Ford, Woodward, Smith, Brown, Bennett, Wooden. Subs: Cook, Wilson, Norton, Dunford, Macklin.

Frome Town: Chitty, Brigham, Thompson, Flockton, Bennett, Hobbs, Smith, Evans, Gilroy, Perrott, Copper. Subs: Grogan, Herbert, Johnston, Partner, Chamberlain.