As the rain lashed down on the Aspect Arena, the Beachboys entertained Gosport in what was to be a closely fought encounter writes Chris Clark.
Matches against Gosport have always been tight affairs, and this was to prove no different. Chances were at a premium throughout the game, and after ten minutes Steve Cawley may well have had the best chance of the game. A long ball found the Beachboys front man, and he eased his way past the centre back, a little too easily for Gosport’s liking…but as he tried to lob Ashmore in the Gosport goal, his effort went straight to the keeper. With James White winning every 50/50 in the centre of the park, Concord were dominating territorially throughout the 1st half, but were struggling to create any further chances in the game. Gosport were proving a tough nut to crack, and you could see how a recent run of form had found the visitors in the play-off places.
Whilst Gosport were resolute at the back, they were not offering any threat to the Beachboys back four and any glimpse of trouble were being expertly dealt with by Hammond, Kingy, Easters and Tom Stephen. It was just proving difficult to get anything going attacking wise for Concord…despite numerous dangerous crosses by Taaffe, Greenhalgh and Dowie, the Gosport defence would not be breached. James Hammond on a rare excursion into the oppositions box had an opportunity to cross or shoot, but realised he had never been that far forward in a game ever…and panicked and tamely put the ball out of play. As a tight half moved into injury time, the Beachboys had an opening, good link up play by the front men, and Steve Cawley was free in the box…could he add to his season’s impressive tally, not this time..as Cawley rather than shooting tried to play in his strike partner Greenhalgh. Steve knows he should have shot. That was half time. It was tight, but it was an intriguing game of football.
Concord Rangers 0 Gosport Borough 0
The second half got underway and the rain continued to hammer down, the brave souls who came to the game were treated to a shot on target on forty eight minutes…determined play by Greenhalgh on the right flank and his cross to the edge of the box was met spectacularly on the volley by Lewis Taaffe, however Ashmore in the Gosport goal dealt with it comfortably. Greenhalgh was finding a bit more space in the second half and his long range shot on fifty-four minutes was again saved easily by Ashmore. The Gosport keeper gave an air of authority in his goal, and it seemed that it would need something special to beat him today.
In a rare foray forward on sixty-two minutes, Gosport had their best and probably only chance of the game. The strike pairing of Wort and Bennett had been kept quiet till then, but they linked up and Wort’s fierce cross shot from sixteen yards smacked off McNamara’s far post and rebounded back into the box, where it was hacked away from danger by the Beachboys.
Sam Bantick came on with twenty-five minutes to go and he gave the Beachboys a lift with his direct attacking play, with his opposition full back already booked, he knew he could attack him with pace. Despite several good opportunities to cross or shot, Sam could not find the killer ball. However on seventy-five minutes, Greenhalgh and Bantick linked up down the left…Sam cut in, his cross shot was brilliantly saved by Ashmore and the rebound fell to Taaffe, but his instinctive header just fell wide of the far post. It was close. It was the closest the Beachboys were to come.
Both sides had given absolutely everything, but neither team could break each other down. As the game moved into injury time, Gosport earned a corner and it appeared McNamara was hindered as the corner came in, he couldn’t claim it and there was a scramble in the box, which was hacked away from danger. That would have been an undeserved winner for the visitors.
A good close game of football was finally called to a finish by referee Steven Plane, with both sets of players and fans taking the positives from a tight 0-0 draw.
Concord Rangers 0 Gosport Borough 0
Team – McNamara, Hammond, Stephen, King, Easterford; Dowie (sub Cornhill 82mins), White (c), Taaffe, Osborn (sub Bantick 65mins); Greenhalgh, Cawley
Subs not used – Lee, Topley, Lampe
Match Report by Chris Clark.