Pike frustrated as Borough miss chance

Justin Bennett. Picture: Dave Haines
Justin Bennett. Picture: Dave Haines
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Alex Pike cut a frustrated figure after Gosport Borough slid to a 2-1 Vanarama Conference South defeat at Hemel Hempstead on Saturday.

Andy Robinson netted his first goal for the club as he cancelled out Jordan Parkes’ spot-kick opener for the home side.

But Borough paid the price for a lack of killer instinct in front of goal when Oliver Hawkins nodded home the winner on 70 minutes.

The defeat saw the Privett Park side slip four points adrift of the play-off places.

Pike, however, could not believe how his men had failed to put Hemel to the sword.

‘I don’t know how that game finished in a 2-1 defeat, to be honest,’ said the Gosport boss.

‘After our first-half performance, we should have come in at least two up.

‘We didn’t, they got awarded a soft penalty and are ahead.

‘We equalised with a good goal but then it’s our fault their striker has a free header six yards out.

‘A free header from a set piece handed them the winner, which was frustrating.

‘We hit the post later on in the game, so should have come away with a point at least.

‘We just weren’t clinical enough in front of their goal.’

Borough should have taken the lead after 15 minutes.

But prolific hitman Justin Bennett could only find the side-netting minutes before Matt Paterson forced a good save out of the Hemel keeper.

Paterson, Bennett, Tom Dunford and Danny Smith all came close to putting the Privett Park side in the lead in the first period.

They all failed to convert their chances, though.

And Hemel Hempstead made them pay.

Matt Butcher, who was making his debut for Borough after arriving on loan from AFC Bournemouth, hauled down a home player in the box.

And the Tudors’ top scorer Parkes converted the resulting penalty with ease.

The equaliser came just moments later, though.

Robinson smashed home his maiden goal for the club – the ball fizzing into the top corner from 20 yards – to give the visitors the momentum.

Some criminal defending from Gosport gifted the winner with 20 minutes left, though.

Hawkins was left unmarked in the box and he made no mistake with his header, finding the net from close range.

Lee Wort, Bennett and Paterson all came close to levelling the scores late on.

But The Tudors held out to grab the three points and go level with Gosport in the table.

With the play-off places now slipping further away, Pike was frustrated things didn’t fall for his side.

‘We created enough chances to win two games,’ he said.

‘However, we couldn’t convert at one end and couldn’t keep them out at the other.

‘Things didn’t go our way and people weren’t smiling on us, that’s for sure.

‘But all the games in the Conference South are tough games, you can turn up and play well but still get beaten.’

Borough host Bath City at Privett Park next weekend.