ALEX PIKE was left ‘fuming’ after watching his Gosport Borough side twice surrender the lead to lose last night’s pre-season friendly at Sholing 4-3.
The manner of the goals were of particular concern, as the Conference South visitors were undone by four set-pieces against their lower-league opponents.
The Southern League division one south & west outfit led through an early Barry Mason header before Lee Molyneaux and Stuart Green struck to put Borough ahead at the break.
Pike’s side were pegged back by Stuart Mott but Green doubled his tally for the evening to restore the visitors’ advantage.
Daniel Miller then nodded the hosts level for a second time in quick succession before Mott sealed the hosts’ win.
‘I am fuming we conceded four goals from set-pieces,’ said Pike.
‘It’s disappointing to do that at any level, let alone a Conference South side.
‘Sometimes you learn more in defeat than in winning games.
‘We know we have got lots to work on and we will do it.
‘Eight of my starting team from the weekend weren’t playing tonight.
‘Sometimes you have to give people minutes and game time and then make decisions closer to the start of the season.’
Gosport were caught cold, falling behind from a first-minute corner when Mason rose above a static Borough defence to score with a near-post header.
The visitors gradually picked up their tempo, though, and were rewarded with a 15th-minute equaliser.
A deep corner from the left was perfect for Molyneaux who powered in his header.
Borough stopper Nathan Ashmore then kept his side level with a good one-on-one save to deny Nathan Lynch.
Green put Borough in front on 35 minutes with an excellent strike from inside the area.
But on 54 minutes they were again found wanting at a set-piece.
A corner from the right was met by the smallest player on the pitch, Mott, who headed home.
Green restored Borough’s lead six minutes later, when Paco Saez pulled the ball back from the byline for the midfielder to beat the Sholing keeper from 10 yards.
Borough obviously hadn’t learned their lesson, though, as five minutes later Sholing equalised for a third time from a corner.
Miller rose totally unchallenged to head past substitute goalkeeper Wayne Shaw.
Incredibly, there was to be more set-piece woe for Borough when Mott headed in his second goal from a free-kick to give Sholing victory.
A frustrated Pike was able to salvage some positives from the game.
He said: ‘On a positive note, it was pleasing to see Paco’s pace down the wing and Stuart Green did well for his two goals.
‘In open play I thought we were the better team.’