Stourbridge dent Borough hopes

Tom Dunford was sent off for Gosport Borough late in the second half
Tom Dunford was sent off for Gosport Borough late in the second half

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Ten-man Gosport Borough’s play-off hopes suffered another blow after they went down 3-1 to Stourbridge.

The Southern League premier division side were keen to build on a comfortable home win against Bedford Town in midweek and reignite their hopes of a second successive promotion after three consecutive defeats.

But time is beginning to run out on Borough’s brave efforts as second-placed Stourbridge made the most of the opportunities presented to them in the rain at Privett Park.

As the pitch suffered in the conditions, Borough got stuck in with the same side who defeated Bedford on Tuesday night.

Stourbridge were also able to name a full-strength side, but came under pressure when Rory Williams ploughed through the mud, only to blaze an effort widely over.

Amazingly, Borough keeper Nathan Ashmore so nearly scored a spectacular opener with a massive goalkick that sailed over visiting keeper Dean Coleman’s head and inches over the crossbar.

Williams’ persistence earned him another opportunity moments later when, having won a challenge with defender Sean Geddes, he hammered in a shot that raced just wide of the post.

A swirling Sammy Igoe corner was helped goalward by Danny Smith to Jamie Brown, who, standing just six yards from goal, sparred the visitors with a shot high over.

Play switched to the other end and Ashmore came to Borough’s rescue with a diving save to keep Ben Mackey’s effort out of the corner.

But moments later the keeper was caught off his line by Geddes’ swirling free-kick, giving the visitors a 25th-minute lead they hardly deserved.

As the playing conditions worsened, the visitors stepped up the pressure and only poor finishing by Mackey ensured that Borough went into the break only one goal behind.

Early in the second half, Borough’s fate was virtually sealed when Brown lost possession in midfield, allowing Stourbridge striker Ben Billingham to take off on a run before blasting home a second from the edge of the area.

To their credit, Alex Pike’s side continued to push forward, looking for a way back into the match.

Meanwhile, Adam Wilde came off the substitutes’ bench to add more sparkle to a strikeforce that had lost their way in the mud.

Late on, Borough were given the slightest of chances to get back in to the match when Stourbridge were reduced to 10 men after Luke Benbow was red carded for chopping down Brown.

On 83 minutes, Borough were handed another lifeline when the visitors failed to deal with a cross and Dan Woodward was on hand to pull a goal back.

But any hopes of a late equaliser for the home side were dashed when substitute Tom Dunford picked up a straight red card.

And as played resumed, Borough were caught up field and Billingham powered through to score his second and Stourbridge’s third from close range.

Gosport Borough: Ashmore, King, Martin, Woodford, Molyneaux, Brown, Igoe, Smith, Wooden, Williams, Woodward. Subs: Wilson, Wilde, Cook, Dunford, Ender.

Stourbridge: Coleman, Benbow, Oliver, McCome, Geddes, Bennett, Lloyd, Broadhurst, Mackey, Billingham, Fitzpatrick, Subs: Canavan, Osbourne, Dyson, Francis, Miscett.