By Pete Martin – Cover image by Roger Elliott
League leaders Gosport Borough went away empty-handed from the Ray Mac as a fine Salisbury performance saw them run out 2-0 winners. The teams met last weekend in the FA Trophy and for this league match manager Brian Dutton made 2 changes to his starting lineup; Sido Jombati and Noah Coppin missing out through suspension with Ryan Penny and Dan Fitchett coming in to start.
Images by Michael Berkeley
It was the visitors who started brightest, Alexandr Barsa shooting wide from outside the box before on 5 minutes Whites keeper Josh Gould had to be alert to race out and smother the ball at the feet of Jonathan Efedje when he was put through by Jake Scrimshaw. Gosport continued to look lively and on 16 minutes Barsa again shot wide of the goal, before 2 minutes later the home side had their 1st real chance when Sam Ashton saw his effort on goal blocked when a low corner found him in space.
The Whites were starting to get a foothold in the game and seeing plenty of the ball. On 23 minutes really good play by Josh Hedges down the right saw the ball played across to Fitchett, only for his effort on the turn to be blocked out by the Gosport defence. As the game ticked towards half time it was all Salisbury; Dutton’s men having the lion’s share of possession although not able to create too much in the way of goal-scoring chances. Late on in the half another Whites corner caused panic which eventually saw a Gosport defender hack the ball away from on the line and the teams went in at the break all square.
As had been the case in the 1st half, it was the visitors who started the 2nd strongest. Gosport had a good amount of possession around the Whites box but were unable to conjure anything to test Gould. Around the hour mark Salisbury upped the tempo and started to dominate the ball, creating the game’s best chance so far on 61 minutes. Fitchett fed the ball to Ashton just inside the box and he turned his defender inside out before unleashing a shot which took a deflection before rippling the side of the net on the wrong side of the post. At this point, the Whites looked the more dangerous side but on 63 minutes Gosport gave a reminder of their capabilities when Scrimshaw fired over the top when in space inside the box.
Images by Roger Elliott
They were made to pay for that 3 minutes later as Salisbury took the lead. A good linkup down the right between Jamar Smith and substitute Devon Arnold saw the former fizz an excellent low ball across the 6-yard line, with Gosport’s Zak Sharp firing the ball into his own net beyond helpless keeper Toby Steward. The Whites continued to be on top in the game, moving the ball around nicely and playing with confidence. On 77 minutes however, they were indebted to a brave block from defender Tom Leggett when Scrimshaw drove the ball goal-wards before 3 minutes later Gosport should have been reduced to 10 men. Bradley Tarbuck made a foul in midfield for what should have been his 2nd yellow, the referee however appearing to book Barsa instead. Just 2 minutes later the Whites thought they’d doubled the lead when Fitchett had the ball in the back of the net; the linesman’s flag denying him his goal, however.
With 3 minutes remaking of normal time left Gosport had a golden chance to snatch a late draw. A long ball forward saw Leggett tangling with substitute Rafa Ramos and the referee deemed an offence committed and pointed to the spot. Tarbuck stepped up to take the penalty but he could only blaze the ball high over the bar. Just 90 seconds later they were made to pay as Salisbury doubled their advantage on the break. Arnold and Fitchett combined down the right and when the ball was played across to substitute Josh Squires he showed good composure to move it on to Hedges, and the birthday boy took a touch inside and rifled the ball home to seal the win for his team. Despite there being 8 minutes of time added on, the Whites were able to see the game out with ease to maintain their unbeaten record at the Ray Mac.
Images by Michael Berkeley
Salisbury are back on the road next Saturday 21st October when they make the trip to Didcot Town for a 3 p.m. kickoff.
Team: Gould, Smith, Sommerton, Leggett, Bragg, Penny, McCreadie, Gunson(Squires), Hedges, Ashton(Arnold D), Fitchett Unused Subs: Osei, Roocroft, Lewis.