Last-gasp Gosport go second

Justin Bennett opened the scoring for Gosport at Sholing
Justin Bennett opened the scoring for Gosport at Sholing
Hawks striker Jason Prior celebrates hitting the target for the first time since November. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (181103-1)

Bradbury: My Hawks won’t be bullied

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NATHAN KIRBY hit a late winner at Sholing to send promotion-chasing Gosport Borough up to second spot in the Southern League division one south & west table.

After beating league leaders Bideford on Saturday, confidence was at bursting point in the Borough ranks, and goals from Justin Bennett and Kirby were enough to secure a precious 2-1 win.

Sholing were injury-free going into the clash following their victory at Tiverton.

But Gosport boss Alex Pike was forced to make one change, with Ian Humble making a start in place of Gavin Jones, who was still in QA Hospital after suffering from a broken nose and broken cheekbone that earned Bideford’s Matt Andrews a red card.

With Steve Claridge again unavailable, Dan Wooden continued up front.

From the start, Sholing pushed for an opener and Borough’s defence was stretched by the pace of Marvin McLean and Lee Wort. But Lee Molyneaux and Brett Poate stood firm to the point that keeper Nathan Ashmore was not unduly tested.

On 15 minutes, though, Ashmore kept Borough’s hopes alive by keeping out a fierce cross-shot from McLean who had created his own opportunity with a defence-splitting run.

As the play switched in Borough’s favour, Bennett shook Sholing by stretching out a leg to reach Molyneaux’s half-hit shot and divert the ball past former Fareham keeper Lee Webber.

Moments later, Webber spared Sholing’s blushes by keeping out a fierce drive from Wooden who had raced clear of the home defence.

Borough’s defence settled into a pattern that restricted Sholing to long-range efforts from both Barry Mason and McLean which flew over.

But just before the interval, McLean’s run and cross gave Wort the easiest of opportunities, only for Ellis Martin to somehow get in front of him and hoof the ball to safety.

As the second half got under way, Sholing looked a far better outfit than they had during the opening 45 minutes.

But, fortunately for Borough, their finishing was woeful as displayed by Lee Braight and Mason who both missed the target from close range.

Play switched to to the other end where Bennett was close to a second – likewise Wooden with a header that lifted just over the bar.

On 75 minutes, Gosport’s Adam Wilde found himself clear with a chance to make the game safe, only to blaze over the bar.

And it looked costly as Sholing broke to the other end where Molyneaux was adjudged to have handled in the area and up stepped Tyrone Bowers to equalise from the penalty spot.

Seconds before the final whistle, Borough stole the points thanks to a lightning move and blistering finish from Kirby that flew past Webber for a much-deserved winner.

Sholing: Webber, Carter, Mason, Marden, Braight, Bowers, Mason, Fennemore, Gibbens, Wort, McLean. Subs: McCarthy, James, Watts, Brewster, Hookway.

Gosport: Ashmore, Ford, Martin, Poate, Molyneaux, Humble, Woodward, Kirby, Wooden, Bennett, Wilde. Subs: Way, Feeney, Cook, Boston, Harrop.