Virtually no margin for error as Gosport Borough’s chase for a Southern League Premier South play-off place takes them to south Wales

Shaun Gale admits there is precious little margin for error as Gosport Borough bid to reach the Southern League Premier South play-offs.

By Simon Carter
Thursday, 17th March 2022, 3:49 pm
Brad Tarbuck got much-needed minutes in the Portsmouth Senior Cup win against Petersfield. Picture: Tom Phillips
Brad Tarbuck got much-needed minutes in the Portsmouth Senior Cup win against Petersfield. Picture: Tom Phillips

Boro are six points behind fifth-placed Chesham, with an inferior goal difference, going into their last seven league games.

They still have to play the four clubs immediately above them - Taunton (H), Chesham (A), Weston-super-Mare (H) and Yate (A) - as well as lowly Kings Langley (A) and Merthyr (A). Gosport’s penultimate game is home to Steve Claridge’s Salisbury.

‘Being realistic, I’d say we’d need to win at least six of our games,’ declared Gale. ‘It depends on what other clubs do, but you can’t afford to worry about them. We’ll need to beat the teams around us.

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‘There’s small margins for error if we want to get in the play-offs, and I’m still thinking we can.

‘It’s the business end of the season and it’s all about winning football matches.’

Gosport travel to second-bottom Merthyr this weekend looking for a repeat of November’s 5-0 home win against the Welsh club.

The Martyrs appear doomed to relegation; with two going down, they trail third bottom Dorchester by nine points with eight games remaining - though recent wins over Dorchester and rock bottom Wimborne have shown some of the spirit required.

‘We have to go there and win, simple as that,’ stated Gale. ‘We can’t look at the league table, it’s a tough place to go - they all are.’

Gale used last weekend’s Portsmouth Senior Cup semi with three tiers lower Petersfield to give minutes to players who needed them.

An experienced side - Bradley Tarbuck, Rory Williams, Elliott Wheeler, Josh Huggins, Ryan Pennery, Matt Paterson - laboured to a 1-0 win, booking an April 6 final with holders Moneyfields at Westleigh Park.

‘I wasn’t happy with how we played, it was nowhere near good enough,’ Gale remarked.

‘But of the 11 players, the only one who didn’t really need the minutes was Harvey Rew.

‘Did I really learn anything that I didn’t already know? Probably not.’