Gosport pay price for ‘arrogance’

Wes Dugan scored two tries for Gosport but it was too late. Picture: Roger Smith
Wes Dugan scored two tries for Gosport but it was too late. Picture: Roger Smith
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Tom Whitehouse. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-81)

Pearce fires warning to triumphant Portsmouth

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Scott Ashley felt his side paid for an arrogant approach as they saw their unbeaten record crushed by strugglers Effingham & Leatherhead on Saturday.

The heavy 45-17 defeat put a dent in Gosport’s London two south west title charge – they remain top but rivals Guildford now have a game in hand.

More worryingly for Ashley, the attitude of the team was all wrong.

He said: ‘To be brutally honest we didn’t perform and paid the price for our complacency.

‘We turned up and right from the start I could sense a bit of arrogance about our play.

‘It was frustrating watching it develop from the sidelines and we just didn’t expect it.

‘We warned the players about this before the game but that had little effect.

‘Even when Effingham & Leatherhead continued to rack up the points in the first half, none of the players seemed particularly bothered.

‘There was a sense of having been here before and still being able to turn things around.

‘That didn’t happen and we left ourselves with far too much to do.

‘Our opponents played well, kept us on the backfoot and we were second best all day.

Trailing 32-3 at half-time, the writing was on the wall for the visitors who needed to score first in the second period to give themselves a chance.

Instead, it was the Eagles who stretched their lead further.

‘We were guilty of giving a number of penalties away and their outside-half kept slotting them over,’ said Ashley.

‘Our cause wasn’t helped by a couple of naive yellow cards, one in each half.’

When Gosport finally started to get their game together, Wes Dugan went over for two quickfire tries, both converted by Loz Wadham.

By then, though, it was far too little, too late.

The Gosport players admitted they had not done themselves justice.

Ashley said: ‘Our players need to take a good, long, hard look in the mirror and ask themselves if they gave everything.

‘Only four or five on this performance can answer in the positive.

‘We needed players to step up to the plate and a lot of them failed to do that.

‘Afterwards, the players admitted their arrogance.

‘They recognise the need to knuckle back down.’

Gosport have to travel to rivals Guildford before the end of the season and the pressure is now on.

Ashley added: ‘Guildford now have a game in hand and our meeting at their place before the end of the season will be crucial.

‘We must bounce back and put this bad day at the office behind us.’