‘We showed character and belief’ – Gosport Borough come from 0-2 down to claim stoppage time Southern League win at Merthyr

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Brad Tarbuck struck a stoppage time winner as Gosport Borough collected their first away Southern League points since the end of August.

The one-time Pompey hopeful completed a superb comeback as the visitors came from 0-2 down to win 3-2 at Merthyr.

That made it back-to-back wins for Boro under the stewardship of recently-appointed director of football Mark Molesley.

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Boro, who had banked just one point in 10 league games prior to Molesley’s arrival, had beaten fifth-placed Tiverton 2-1 at Privett Park in his first match.

Brad Tarbuck completed Gosport's recovery at Merthyr with a late winner. Picture by Tom PhillipsBrad Tarbuck completed Gosport's recovery at Merthyr with a late winner. Picture by Tom Phillips
Brad Tarbuck completed Gosport's recovery at Merthyr with a late winner. Picture by Tom Phillips

Gosport travelled to south Wales having suffered seven successive away league defeats - including two, at Hayes & Yeading and Beaconsfield, after they had led by two goals.

But this time the boot was firmly on the other foot as Boro recovered after finding themselves two down at the break.

Bert Whte save a penalty from Martyrs top scorer Ricardo Rees, but from the resulting corner Jack Evans put the hosts in front. And it was 2-0 when Curtis Hutson netted shortly before the interval.

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There was still time, though, for Brett Williams to continue his goal-a-game record for Boro prior to the half-time whistle being blown.

Gosport’s other striker, Dan Wooden, levelled seven minutes into the second half with his 10th Southern League goal of the season.

Williams was forced off with injury just after the hour mark, Harry Kevanagh coming on and Tarbuck pushed forward.

And it was Tarbuck who had the final say as Boro collected a second 3-2 win against Merthyr this season, having beaten them on the opening day.

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It was only Tarbuck’s second league goal of the campaign, with his first arriving against Plymouth Parkway on August 27.

Molesley told The News: ‘I told the players before the game that we will continue to learn more about ourselves, and we certainly did that.

‘At half-time I told them I wanted to see character and fight, I didn’t want to see anyone feeling sorry for themselves. We still had 45 minutes to get back in the game.

‘I have to give full credit to the boys. It’s a really tough place to go - long travel, astroturf pitch, it was quite slippery. We are delighted.

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‘We showed character and belief, that’s the most pleasing thing for me.

‘We are a work in progress, we’re far from the finished article.

‘We’re in a relegation fight and we need to get as many points on the board as quickly as we can.

‘I just want to see the right attitude and mentality, the rest we can work out - but there’s no point having the other bits if we haven’t got the fight and character.’

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Gosport are now up to 15th, yet only four points above the bottom four having played more games than some of the clubs below them.

Next up is a home clash with leaders Weston-super-Mare before a crucial four-game spell against teams below them - Hartley Wintney, Winchester, Parkway and Yate.

‘Hopefully we can continue to build confidence and foundations,’ said Molesley. ‘We need to get confidence for the lads to have belief in the way we’re trying to do things.’

Gosport will know more on Tuesday regarding the extent of Williams’ injury. ‘It could have just been cramp or it could be a strain,’ said Molesley about his former Aldershot playing colleague.