Pike reveals Borough hurt

Justin Bennett. Picture: Dave Haines
Justin Bennett. Picture: Dave Haines
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A last-gasp equaliser brought Gosport Borough to their knees at Basingstoke Town on Saturday.

The four minutes of stoppage-time were up when Tom Bird sneaked in at the far post to crash the ball home and snatch the hosts a 1-1 draw at the Camrose.

It was a cruel blow to the visitors, who on the balance of chances created deserved better from the Vanarama Conference South encounter.

Borough manager Alex Pike found it impossible to hide his disappointment.

‘I find it difficult to talk about it,’said the Privett Park boss.

‘We are all totally gutted. The players were sat in the dressing room feeling like they had lost.

‘The lads are hurting. It’s the way our run of form is going at the moment and dropping points becomes a habit.

‘Our goalkeeper only had one save to make when we switched off at a corner in the first half.

‘All the chances fell to us and it is just one of those things at the moment.’

With the two teams having drawn three times during the past month in league and FA Trophy clashes, there was never going to be much between them.

It was therefore no surprise when an evenly-fought first half ended goalless.

The only notable save in that period came when Ashmore did well to turn a Manny Williams shot around his near post. Borough drew first blood four minutes into the second half with a trademark finish from Justin Bennett, who took his tally to 18 goals in the league.

Midfielder Tom Dunford was the architect, running at the home defence before finding the striker just inside the area.

The prolific Bennett worked himself a space before firing his low shot across the home goalkeeper and into the far corner.

Borough had to weather a spell of sustained pressure after that but with key defenders back they looked solid.

‘Having Brett Poate back alongside Sam Pearce in the centre of our defence made a big difference,’ said Pike.

‘His return, along with that of Andy Forbes, had us looking secure again.

‘It is no coincidence Basingstoke’s equaliser came from the left flank after we were forced to replace Forbes with an injury.

‘Up until then the home side looked like they had run out of ideas.’

Borough looked to be on their way to their first win in four games when the hosts struck at the death.

A low cross from the left found its way across the goalmouth and Bird steamed in at the far post to crash his shot in off the underside of the crossbar.

As soon as the game restarted the referee blew his whistle to leave Borough devastated.

However, Pike insists his squad will bounce back and return to winning ways soon.

‘There is a great togetherness in our squad and we will pick ourselves up, dust ourselves down and be ready to go again,’ said the boss.

Gosport Borough: Ashmore, Forbes (Wilde, 68min), Saez, Carter, Poate, Pearce, Dunford, Smith, Paterson (Wort, 88min), Bennett, Wooden. Att: 527