Pike warns Gosport not to take Cup replay lightly

Gosport manager Alex Pike
Gosport manager Alex Pike
Steve Ramsey scored for AFC Portchester in their defeat at Amesbury Town. Picture: Keith Woodland

Bognor remain bottom after defeat

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Alex Pike has warned Gosport Borough they still have a job to do against Slough Town in their FA Cup fourth qualifying round replay at Privett Park tonight (7.45pm).

The two sides, who fought out a goalless draw on Saturday, go into the game knowing a trip to Blue Square Bet Premier side Mansfield Town awaits the winners in the next stage.

Pike believes that if his side can reproduce the form of previous home ties – against Bashley, Bideford and Bath City – then they will make their first-ever appearance in the first round proper of the competition.

‘It is a case of us applying ourselves mentally and seeing the job through,’ said Pike.

‘Technically, we have more than enough ability to come out on top.

‘I felt we did more than enough to win the game at Slough and, on another day, we could have won by two or three goals.

‘But Slough proved they can be competitive and not surprisingly showed a big improvement on their FA Trophy showing when we beat them 4-0.

‘They injected more tempo into their game and were quicker in closing us down.

‘I was impressed with them and we certainly won’t be taking them lightly.

‘We will show them the utmost respect because they won’t be coming to lay down at Privett Park.’

Borough have yet to win at home in the Southern League premier division this season – a far cry from their dominant form at Privett Park last term which played a key part in their promotion. Despite their home struggles in the league, though, Gosport must fancy their chances after the way they demolished Blue Square Bet South visitors Bath City in a home replay in the previous round.

Trailing 1-0 at half-time, Borough looked on their way out of the competition.

But a devastating run of three goals in 11 minutes midway through the second period turned the game on its head and sent Bath tumbling out.

It was an impressive performance from Pike’s team and he wants them to take the confidence from that in to tonight’s replay.

‘We may have to be patient and not think the game has to be won in the first 10, 15 or 30 minutes,’ said Pike.

‘The dynamics are different at home and we will expect to take the game to Slough.

‘They might think that will open up a few gaps for them with their pace up front but we have experienced defenders who are well aware of that.

‘It is good to know that we also have plenty of players on our subs’ bench who are capable of going on and winning games if need be.

‘We are not thinking about the next round because we have to do this job first.’

Gosport have no injury worries and can select from the same squad which featured at the weekend.

Gosport Borough: Ashmore, Woodward, Martin, Poate, Molyneaux, Brown, Igoe, Smith, Wooden, Bennett, King, Cook, Wilde, Norton, Stow, Gaisie, May.