Walsh bags winner as ‘excellent’ Gosport jump up to fourth in Southern League Premier South with home win over Walton Casuals

Gosport Borough jumped up to a place to fourth in the Southern League Premier South after a second half winner from Mason Walsh against Walton Casuals.

By Simon Carter
Sunday, 9th January 2022, 12:47 pm
Matt Briggs can't force the rebound in after Walton keeper Jacob Adams had saved a Mason Walsh shot. Picture: Chris Moorhouse
Matt Briggs can't force the rebound in after Walton keeper Jacob Adams had saved a Mason Walsh shot. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

In a competitive game lacking in many clear chances at either end, Walsh tapped in from a few yards on 67 minutes as Boro won for only the second time in their last six home league matches.

Dulwich loanee AJ Harris-Sealy, on as a half-time sub for the injured Elliott Wheeler, embarked on a run from near the halfway line before setting up overlapping right-back Harry Kavanagh.

The former Pompey youngster fired in a low cross which sped across the six-yard box before Walsh was on hand at the back post to net only his second Southern League goal for Gosport.

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Mason Walsh in action against Walton Casuals. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Walsh’s maiden strike had arrived in a 5-0 blitz of lowly Merthyr at Privett Park in early November. This time, Gosport had to work much, much harder for the three points.

This was a tough win - but a deserved one - against a Walton side who had arrived as one of the division’s in-form sides. Casuals had won four of their previous five league games, including wins against top three pair Met Police and Hayes & Yeading.

With Walsh and fellow winger Billy Busari always looking to run at the visiting defence, the hosts enjoyed good possession but failed to create as many decent chances as their approach work merited.

At the other end, Walton enjoyed some late pressure but Boro keeper Bert White was not seriously tested as he kept back-to-back league clean sheets for the first time since August.

Gosport Borough striker Dan Wooden keeps an eye on the ball against Walton Casuals. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

‘We were excellent against a very good team who probably don’t get the recognition they deserve,’ enthused Boro boss Shaun Gale.

‘They’re well organised and they’ve got pace, but we managed them well and thoroughly deserved our breakthrough.

‘We controlled the game up to their area, they only had a couple of sniffs and Bert White only had one save to make.

‘Walton are a tough side to play against, well organised. It’s not like when we played at Salisbury the week before (and won 5-0) - they had a couple missing and were all over the show.

Tempers rise as Gosport's Mike Carter goes eyeball to eyeball with a Walton opponent. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

‘We could have had a few more but the most important thing about the game was taking three points.

‘We had to change it at half-time with Elliott Wheeler coming off, but maybe that helped us a bit with AJ coming on. It was his run that helped set up the goal.’

With Walsh on the left side and Busari on the right always prominent, Boro were easily the livelier side going forward in the first half in front of another good Privett Park crowd of 544 - easily the best in the division on the day.

Walsh pinged a few good crosses in, though unable to find a colleague, while the former Bognor striker was also the most likely to test keeper Jacob Adams.

Mike Carter picks up a first half booking. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Walsh saw one first half effort saved low down, and another sneak the wrong side of the post. In between, Adams couldn’t hold a 25th minute effort and Matt Briggs was unable to force home the loose ball.

The biggest Walton scare was self-inflicted by the hosts. First, Kavanagh conceded possession with a poor free-kick; seconds later, White was unable to grasp the ball on the edge of his 18-yard-box.

Adam Liddle - who grabbed the only goal when Gosport lost at Walton in the second game of the season - was able to gain possession but his lofted delivery into the six-yard box was hacked clear by Josh Huggins.

As they had done in the first period, Gosport started the second half on top and were inches away from taking a 46th minute lead.

Busari was able to work an opening for himself, with his left-foot shot saved low down to his left by Adams, with the ball trickling inches wide of a post.

White was tested for the first time on 52 minutes, flinging himself to his left to beat away a shot from Rohdell Gordon.

Ref Sean Phillips was, briefly, the busiest person in the pitch. Having already booked Gosport’s Mike Carter for a first half foul, he brandished four more yellows in 10 minutes - Kavanagh and Walsh for the hosts.

Walton boss Anthony Gale made his first changes on 66 minutes, bringing on Ansu Janneh and Gabriel Odunaike. But within 60 seconds, Walsh had broken the deadlock.

Walton had reasonable possession after that, but never really tested White again. The nearest the came was when Liddle cut inside and his shot took a slight deflection off Huggins for a corner.

In fact, it was Gosport who manufactured the best late chance. Sub Brad Tarbuck had a clear sight of goal eight minutes from time, but Adams spread himself well to save.

The games don’t get any easier for Boro - next up is a trip to Poole Town next Saturday before a huge top-of-the-table home game with Hayes & Yeading on Wednesday, January 19.

Gosport: White, Kavanagh, Rew, Huggins, Briggs, Wheeler (Harris-Sealy, 46), Carter, Hallett, Busari (Tarbuck, 75), Walsh (Pennery, 81), Wooden.

Walton: Adams, Lelan, Bird, Osman, Wiltshire, Moore-Azille, Rowe (Odunaike, 66), Keetch, Liddle, Gilbert, Gordon (Janneh, 66).

Attendance: 544