Pike out to stem Bath’s flow

Mike Carter. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150020-5)
Mike Carter. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (150020-5)
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Alex Pike insists it’s vital Gosport Borough get their Vanarama Conference South play-off bid back on track by beating Bath City at home tomorrow (3pm).

Borough’s recent dip in form has seen them slip to seventh in the league, five points adrift of the play-off places.

The Privett Park outfit still have games in hand on the teams immediately above them but Pike knows they have to start making them count.

‘We need to start putting points on the board again. It is as simple as that,’ said the Gosport boss.

‘At the moment, our play-off ambitions have been derailed and it is vital we get them back on track.

‘The league is so tight with all the teams in the top half within touching distance of each other.

‘Our next two games are at home and a couple of wins will take us right back up there.

‘At the same time, two poor results would send us sliding down at a rapid rate of knots.

‘Our home form is good with four wins and two draws in our last six games and we have to make sure we carry on maximising home advantage.’

In their previous home league outing, Borough showed their battling qualities by clawing back a two-goal deficit to force a 2-2 draw against play-off chasing rivals Ebbsfleet United.

Pike expects his team will need to display those same fighting attributes against in-form visitors Bath City tomorrow.

The west country rivals are currently second in the Conference South form guide and are also looking to emulate Borough’s FA Trophy Wembley appearance of last season.

Bath dumped Conference Premier outfit Dover Athletic out of the competition in midweek to claim a semi-final spot.

In the reverse fixture earlier in the season, Borough produced another great second-half fightback to win 3-1 at Twerton Park after trailing at the break.

But Pike believes the key to success lies in his side cutting out individual errors which have crept back into their game.

‘We have to eradicate individual mistakes which are costing us dearly,’ added the Borough manager.

‘I won’t point the finger at individual players but they know who they are.

‘This is a tough league where you get punished for your mistakes.

‘At Hemel Hempstead we were unlucky to lose but both their goals came from set-pieces.

‘We played well, hit the woodwork twice and missed a one-on-one with their goalkeeper.

‘Our hosts said we were one of the best teams they have seen at their place this season but that was no consolation.’

Experienced central defender Brett Poate is reckoned to have only a 50-50 chance of returning from the calf injury that has kept him out of action in recent weeks.

Midfielder Mike Carter is still a big miss and is sidelined again. But he is close to a return as he finishes his six-game suspension in the near future.

GOSPORT BOROUGH: (from) Ashmore, Forbes, Williams, Robinson, Butcher, Pearce, Dunford, Smith, Paterson, Bennett, Wooden, Saez, Wort, Wilde, Matthews, Ramsey, Poate.