Home comforts key to Gosport bid

Matt Flower faces a late fitness test
Matt Flower faces a late fitness test
Luke Simmons slides in for the opening try. Picture: Neil Marshall (171730-1)

Portsmouth closing in on Twickenham dream

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Gosport & Fareham must make the most of home comforts to boost their London one south survival mission against Sidcup.

That’s the view of coach Scott Ashley, who believes the team’s ‘phenomenal support’ at Gosport Park has a key part to play in helping his team stay up this season.

Last weekend’s 25-10 home win against Cobham has given third-from-bottom Gosport renewed belief they can pull off a great escape.

But they need to maintain their momentum – starting with their latest home fixture against Sidcup.

‘Teams find Gosport Park a difficult place to get a result and that is largely down to our phenomenal support,’ said Ashley.

‘Our supporters have been superb getting behind the players and the team.

‘They are always positive and don’t get on the players’ backs when things go wrong.

‘We showed against Cobham we are good enough to stay in this league.

‘We have been waiting for the tide to turn and now must make the most of our opportunity.

‘Tomorrow is another home game against a team we believe we can beat.

‘We have tried to mirror everything we did last week in training so that we can carry it forward into this important game.’

Gosport harbour realistic hopes they can turn the tables on a Sidcup side that only snatched a win in the dying minutes of their previous meeting earlier in the season.

At Sidcup, Gosport led 7-5 with only three minutes to play but it all went horribly wrong at the death.

Ryan Thorne was yellow carded for a deliberate knock-on and the visitors’ defence crumbled.

The home side then ran in three late tries to snatch a bonus-point win, leaving Gosport crestfallen.

‘We owe them one because we threw the game away at their place,’ said coach Ashley.

‘More importantly, we have put ourselves within reach of Havant who must be looking nervously over their shoulder.’

Ashley hopes to retain an unchanged starting line-up.

But that rests on his number eight Matt Flower passing a fitness test on his hamstring.

Gosport & Fareham: Thorne, Lewis, J Whitehead, Wa Dugan, G Jones, Foster, We Dugan, O’Donoghue, Burns, D Whitehead, M Smith, Burns, Burton, Westerman, Cleary, Wood, McRoberts, Woodford

n Fareham Heathens face a daunting task against Hampshire two league leaders Solent University at Cams Alders.