Pike’s harsh words pay off as Gosport progress

Justin Bennett. Picture: Dave Haines
Justin Bennett. Picture: Dave Haines
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Alex Pike revealed he had to dish out a few harsh words to his Gosport Borough troops before they claimed a 2-1 extra-time victory over Basingstoke in a pulsating FA Trophy replay.

The Borough boss saw his side hanging on for much of the second half after Matt Paterson’s early strike was cancelled out by Chris Flood just past the hour mark.

But Justin Bennett then grabbed the winner two minutes into the first period of extra-time after good work from substitute Lee Wort to seal Borough’s progress.

Pike said: ‘It was a great game. I thought we dominated the first 25 minutes but then we got sloppy and they came back into it.

‘In the second half, it was all Basingstoke although we still hit the crossbar twice.

‘But it was good to get to 90 minutes still in the game so I could get out there and tell them to grow a pair.

‘I thought we started to lack a bit of belief in the second half.

‘We needed to be a bit braver on the ball, pass it more quickly and have some urgency in our play.

‘To be fair, they listened to that and I felt Worty came on and made a big difference.’

Borough got off to the ideal start with just three minutes on the clock as Mike Carter delivered a perfectly-weighted through ball, which got the finish it deserved from Paterson as he drilled his shot across the keeper.

But although Basingstoke threatened an equaliser for the remainder of the first half, Borough keeper 
Nathan Ashmore was not unduly troubled.

Borough enjoyed the better of the opening phase of the second half and twice rattled the crossbar as Sam Pearce and Steve Ramsey both saw looping headers beat the goalkeeper, only to be denied by the frame of the goal.

Basingstoke served a warning when Nathan Smart should have netted the leveller, only to head over the crossbar when he was totally unmarked at the far post.

But the visitors didn’t have to wait long to get themselves back on level terms as Flood rose highest to bury his header from Smart’s inviting cross.

In fairness, it was the least they deserved and they looked the more likely to go on snatch the winner in normal time with Borough relying on a brave block by Ashmore as David Ray looked certain to score.

Brett Poate was then lucky to get away with just a yellow card for an X-rated tackle on Shaun McCauley as tempers threatened to spill over.

And although Basingstoke continued to press for a winner in the closing stages, Borough nearly stole it but Paterson was denied in stoppage-time by a sliding block from Smart.

That was the final act of the 90 minutes.

But Bennett – who had barely had a kick until that point – showed his finishing prowess once again with the extra-time winner.

Wort made inroads down the inside right channel and the club’s record goalscorer made no mistake as he rammed home the loose ball.

Basingstoke threw on former Borough skipper Jamie Brown as a late substitute but Gosport held firm to earn their second round tie at home to Braintree on January 10.

Gosport: Ashmore, Dunford, Pearce, Poate, Williams, Ramsey (Wooden, 64mins), Carter, Smith, Wilde (Wort, 88mins), Paterson, Bennett. Subs not used: Shaw, Molyneaux, Saez