Pearce leads Borough into second round

Sam Pearce. Picture: Paul Jacobs (133298-6)
Sam Pearce. Picture: Paul Jacobs (133298-6)
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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Mick Catlin heaped praise on Sam Pearce after Gosport Borough sealed a spot in the FA Trophy second round.

The Privett Park outfit had to dig deep to defeat Concord Rangers 1-0 on home turf.

But led by Pearce’s man-of-the-match display at the back, the hosts battled to protect the lead Mike Gosney gave them on 28 minutes.

They could have been more comfortable – had an effort from Jamie Brown not been contentiously chalked off.

But Borough held on nonetheless, as confidence continues to grow at Privett Park.

After beating Staines in the Skrill South last week, Gosport finally look to be getting their season on track.

‘We had to dig deep defensively and for me Sam was superb and earned his man-of-the-match award,’ said assistant manager Catlin.

‘We knew what needed to be done to deal with a physically-strong Concord side after having them watched in a match a week or so ago.

‘All over the pitch we were far better than them. Mike Gosney’s goal was brilliant and he deserved it with the amount of graft he put in.

‘For me – and I think the majority of the supporters – Jamie Brown’s goal should have stood.

‘It was never offside – just the result of more good play from Andy Forbes.

‘But the important thing is we kept another clean sheet and have managed back-to-back victories in the space of a few days. That is good for confidence for when we meet Concord at their place on Saturday.’

Gosney gave Borough the lead when he turned his marker just outside the penalty box and hammered a right-footed effort into the corner of the net before keeper Jamie Butler had time to react.

Everything Concord created to get themselves back in the match was dealt with by a Borough defence intent on keeping a clean sheet.

Keeper Nathan Ashmore was hardly troubled, thanks mainly to the efforts of Pearce, Brett Poate and Forbes, who smothered any threat posed by a busy strike force of Gary Ogilvie and Sam Higgins.

Pearce, in particular, was outstanding. Several times he rescued Borough with timely challenges.

Brown looked to have doubled the lead when he tucked the ball into an empty net from six yards – only to be given offside – a decision that looked particularly harsh, given that Concord had a defender on the line.

But the hosts continued to create chances as Justin Bennett, Gosney and Tom Dunford all went close.

As did Forbes, who slammed a volley against the visitors’ bar early in the second half.

Borough never looked likely to concede a late equaliser.

They will learn their second-round opponents when the draw is made this morning.

Alex Pike’s side will then take on Bashley at Privett Park in the Hampshire Senior Cup tomorrow night.

They will be aiming to make it three wins on the bounce at the expense of the Southern League outfit.

Then Borough prepare themselves for a return to Skrill South action and head to the Essex side of the Dartford Tunnel on Saturday to meet Concord Rangers at Thames Road.

Gosport Borough: Ashmore, Woodward, Forbes, Brown, Poate, Pearce, Dunford, Smith, Sills, Bennett, Gosney. Subs: Williams, Wooden, Molyneaux, Wilde, Barfoot