Pike: Point proves Borough can survive

Alex Pike felt he had plenty of reasons to be cheerful after Gosport Borough came from behind to force a 1-1 draw against Merthyr Town at Privett Park.

Monday, 12th February 2018, 7:00 am
Stephane Bombelenga netted the leveller. Picture: Keith Woodland

The boss is still looking for a first Southern League premier division win since returning as manager.

He feels that win is not too far away following the performance against the Welsh visitors.

For Pike, it is all about survival and making sure Borough avoid the solitary relegation spot.

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He believes he is moving closer to making that happen.

Pike said: ‘We looked a lot stronger in this game. My job, though, is to remain focused.

‘I wasn’t going to allow myself to panic after being beaten 7-1 by leaders King’s Lynn in midweek.

‘At the same time, I am not going to go overboard after picking up a point against Merthyr.

‘We looked a far more compact unit on Saturday and we created more chances than we have in the last five weeks.

‘There are lots of good things to take forward but there are still plenty of things I want to work on.

‘When we fell behind we didn’t capitulate and were patient.

‘In the end we got our just reward with a well-deserved equaliser.

‘After this performance I know we can overhaul Dunstable and stay in this league.’

Borough gave debuts to defender Harvey Read, who has signed on loan from Eastleigh, and ex-Moneys striker Ryan Pennery. The latter only penned a deal 24 hours earlier.

Both played an influential part in the crucial point.

With closest rivals Dunstable losing, Borough closed the gap to three points with two games in hand.

After making a bright start they fell behind on 22 minutes.

Craig McAllister saw a header hit the Merthyr crossbar and the visitors broke straight up the other end.

Corey Jenkins met a low cross from the byline and volleyed the ball into the roof of the net.

Despite playing against the elements in the second half, Borough were the more positive side.

They got their reward nine minutes from time when Stephane Bombelenga squirmed an 18-yard shot through the mud and into the net.

Borough sensed they could go on and get the winning goal but in the end had to settle for the draw.

One of the bright spots for Pike was the increasing threat shown up front.

He reckons the arrival of Pennery has given them a new lease of life.

‘The partnership between Pennery and McAllister alone will be good enough to keep us up,’ said Pike.

‘This was the first time they have met, so they are only going to get better.’

Gosport Borough: O’Flaherty, Sanders, Watts, Smith, Flooks, Read, Suraci (Jackson, 87min), Lea, McAllister, Pennery, Bombelenga. Subs: Sharp, Dennett, Brookes, Rawkins. Att: 269