Gosport game plan pays off to deliver derby delight

Rory Williams pushing on for Gosport against the Hawks
Rory Williams pushing on for Gosport against the Hawks
Lewis Fennemore is banned. Picture: Keith Woodland

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Alex Pike praised Gosport Borough’s players for making his job enjoyable, following their 2-1 Boxing Day win over rivals Hawks.

Pike and members of Borough’s staff watched their National League South neighbours in the build-up to Saturday’s entertaining derby match and identified areas they believed could deliver victory.

And while Gosport’s manager refrained from revealing specific details, he felt his side showed great discipline to follow instructions and bring a winning game plan to fruition at Privett Park.

Pike said: ‘I went and watched them against Forest Green and had a report done on them against Concord, so we try to be professional in that way.

‘That is where we identified our game plan – and it worked and came to fruition.

‘That is where managers and coaches can affect the game.

Gosport celebrate during their derby success. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

Gosport celebrate during their derby success. Picture: Ian Hargreaves

‘And when players are disciplined enough to follow those instructions, that is when it becomes very enjoyable for a manager – especially when you get a 2-1 win against your neighbours.’

Borough were quickest out of the blocks in the first half with attacking full-backs TJ Cuthbertson and Rory Williams helping to pen Lee Bradbury’s visitors deep in their own half.

And Williams it was, who set up the game’s first goal – although Dan Wooden’s opener owed much to his own individual brilliance as he collected a cross with his back to goal, before teeing himself up and unleashing an unstoppable overhead-kick past Hawks goalkeeper Ryan Young.

Visiting midfielder Scott Donnelly responded with a brilliant 25-yard strike of his own, five minutes later, before former Gosport man Lee Molyneaux put through his own net from another Williams cross to hand Borough victory.

When players are disciplined enough to follow those instructions, that is when it becomes very enjoyable for a manager – especially when you get a 2-1 win against your neighbours.

Gosport Borough boss Alex Pike

And Williams’ involvement was highlighted by Pike, who also lauded Wooden’s goal, as a key factor in the success,

‘Rory is very selective when he goes forwards,’ said the Borough boss.

‘He seems to know when to stay at home and defend and when to go forward and exploit the opposition.

‘Both goals came from there and many other opportunities as well.

‘Dan’s goal was a wonder goal and I hope they have got it on the video!

‘He had to have skill, precision and awareness – all three elements.

‘If you hit it that early then goalkeepers can’t see where it is coming from.’

Pike, whose side moved up to the fifth and final play-off spot with victory, did not have everything his own way, though, after being outraged by referee Colin Lymer’s decision to send him to the ‘naughty step’ in the second half.

He said: ‘It’s the first time in my life that the referee has sent me to the naughty step.

‘He told me to sit down in the dugout for 10 seconds, or else he would send me off.

‘It wasn’t for swearing, I was just having my say when Josh Hill brought Justin Bennett down right in front of me.

‘I believe the manager’s role is a crucial role and it demands respect – and I don’t think that (Lymer) was being respectful.

‘I felt it was the wrong way to go about it and I spoke to the referee afterwards.’

Borough, who are not in action today, travel to the Hawks on Saturday, aiming to complete a quick-fire derby double.