Three red cards and mass altercation as Gosport Borough's FA Trophy defeat to Salisbury descends into chaos

Tempers boiled over as Gosport Borough exited the FA Trophy at the hands of Southern League Premier South rivals Salisbury at Privett Park.

By Lewis Mason
Monday, 1st November 2021, 2:55 pm
Gosport boss Shaun Gale
Gosport boss Shaun Gale

Three red cards were shown, with Boro boss Shaun Gale dismissed, as well as Gosport's Ryan Woodford and the visitors’ Darren Mullings with a mass altercation breaking out in the hosts' 2-1 third round qualifying defeat.

The tie descended into chaos after Woodford's challenge on Sam Ashton in front of the visiting dugout 10 minutes after the restart.

It was a tackle which enraged Salisbury management and they made their feelings known to Woodford.

What followed was a near 10-minute break in play with Boro boss Gale involved in a face-off with Mullings and several other players and staff from both sides coming onto the pitch.

Things were seemingly calming down when Gosport chairman Iain McInnes went pitchside to diffuse the situation, but some supporters attempted to get into the dugout area to confront an opposing player.

Prior to all that, the tie was settled with three goals in the opening nine minutes. Dan Wooden had fired the hosts ahead inside three minutes, only for Thomas Blair's stunner on six minutes and Ashton's winner, which would arrive after nine minutes.

Gosport raced ahead inside three minutes when Nick Dembele capitalised on a Charlie Kennedy error before crossing for Wooden, who was on hand to fire home from close range.

But their lead would last just three minutes as Salisbury stung Boro with two quick strikes to turn the game around.

Blair's superb volley from just outside the area soon levelled things up, with Ashton then making the most of errors from goalkeeper Bert White and Luke Hallett to take the ball and curl into the bottom corner after nine minutes.

Gosport were very sloppy and the chances continued to come at both ends as Kennedy saw a goalbound header from a corner blocked by his own man Emmanuel Odubade on 17 minutes.

Dembele was stretching Salisbury's defence and his cross was nearly diverted into his own net by Oliver Knowles, but Pat O'Flaherty kept it out five minutes later.

Gosport players and management were enraged when referee Ben Duffill waved away their appeals for a penalty just three minutes after the break with Knowles appearing to handle in the area.

The tie then descended into chaos which was sparked by a Woodford challenge on Ashton a little more than 10 minutes into the second half.

His tackle in front of the visiting dugout angered Salisbury management with a mass altercation breaking out.

Boro boss Gale entered the pitch and had a coming together with Mullings and players and staff from both teams all involved.

After a near 10-minute stoppage, chairman Iain McInnes going pitchside in an attempt to diffuse the situation and some supporters trying to enter the dugout area to confront Mullings, Woodford, Mullings and Boro boss Gale were all shown red cards while Salisbury manager Steve Claridge received a yellow card before play finally resumed.

Antics off the pitch had taken the sting out of the game, although Rory Williams' free-kick struck the crossbar and O'Flaherty kept out the rebound.

But Salisbury survived that scare and managed to see it out after a 55-minute second half – even though were were down to nine-men for the best part of the final 10 minutes when Josh Sommerton was forced off injured and the visitors had used all three substitutes.

Gosport: White; Huggins, Casey, Woodford, Rew, Hallett, Widdrington, Tarbuck, Dembele, Williams, Wooden. Subs: Kavanagh (Hallett, 77), Lewis (Rew, 86), Paterson (Huggins, 90), Busari, Grant, Walsh, Wheeler.