Pike: Disciplined Gosport defended superbly to shock title favourites

ALEX PIKE praised the belief shown by Gosport Borough as they pulled off a surprise 1-0 win over Ebbsfleet United at Privett Park in Vanarama National League South.

Monday, 5th September 2016, 7:00 am
Gosport celebrate Warren Bentley's goal against Ebbsfleet. Picture: Malcolm Wells

Warren Bentley’s first half strike proved enough to give the home side a deserved win over the full-time visitors.

The Kent side arrived boasting an unbeaten record and with the tag of title favourites.

Borough, though, produced another battling performance based upon well organised defence to take the honours.

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Tom Bird. Picture: Malcolm Wells

Manager Pike felt the win showed the qualities his side are well recognised for when at their best.

He said: ‘This win epitomises what Gosport Borough football club is all about.

‘We are a hard-working team and we set up with two banks of four, making us difficult to break down.

‘The game plan couldn’t have worked better.

Tom Bird. Picture: Malcolm Wells

‘Up front we had the pace of Warren Bentley and the hold up play of Ben Wright.

‘We defended from the front and that made life very difficult for them.

‘You look at the statistics and they show Ebbsfleet only had two shots on target all game.

‘We found a way of playing at Oxford City when we went down to 10 men and we just implemented that again.

‘It might be ugly but it is effective and it wins games.

‘When you play against a side like Ebbsfleet you have to realise that for long periods you might not see the ball.

‘That means you have to remain disciplined and keep your shape.

‘I thought we did that perfectly.

‘Our back four quite rightly will take the plaudits for the clean sheet.

‘But you can only achieve that if the whole team ethic is to defend properly.

After the visitors made a bright start it was Borough who began to take a grip on the game.

It was no more than they deserved when they took a 20th minute lead.

Aaron Dawson swung in a corner from the left, Brett Poate flicked the ball goalwards with his head and Bentley smashed the ball into the net.

‘Our goal was down to the hard work put in on the training ground on set-pieces,’ said Pike.

‘Mick Catlin and Tony Stares have worked hard with the players in this area.’

In the second half Ebbsfleet dominated possession but were held back by Borough’s good defensive work.

‘This result will make a few people sit up and think,’ said Pike.

‘Their substitutes’ bench wages wise, is more than our entire budget.

‘Reputations will win you nothing and hard work will beat talent if they are not prepared to work as hard as you.’

GOSPORT BOROUGH: Rice, Cuthbertson, Bird, Carmichael (Carter 68), Poate, Oastler, Dawson, Harding, Wright (Barron 78), Bentley (Bailey 87), Wooden.

Attendance: 566.