Gosport Borough finally recorded their maiden victory under Mick Catlin and progressed to the next round of the FA Trophy in an entertaining 1-0 win against Bristol Manor Farm.
Alfie Lis scored the decisive goal after 35 minutes, settling an absorbing contest that should have offered more goals than Lis’ decisive strike. But for the 160 spectators at Privett Park, it was superb entertainment to savour and offered full value for their money.
Gosport went ahead when Alfie Lis’ shot sailed high into the roof of the net after the young midfielder was cleverly played through by Jack Breed. The end to end nature of the opening 45 minutes was neatly summarised by the fact that the teams shared 13 corners between them.
The second half was no less enthralling as teams continued to go hammer and tongs and the result was a continually entertaining contest until the end.
Mick Catlin continued to reshape the squad, offering debuts to striker Liam Mears and goalkeeper Tom Price, both of whom featured strongly in the game with Luke King also back in the fold.
The club captain had an effective game in the midfield but pleasingly for Catlin, there were excellent performances from back to front and his team now looks far more balanced and settled.
"It feels better," the Boro' boss said afterwards.
"The players will gain confidence from this and there were a few good performances out there. The majority are young lads and this will help them going forward.
"Before the game I felt today's team was the strongest I'd been able to put out and I've been desperately trying to get Luke King into the centre of midfield ever since Jamie Brown was injured as we needed an experienced player in there," he explained.
"It was the first opportunity to do that as I have other people, such as Ed Sanders to play in defence. Luke's presence encouraged Jack Breed and Alfie Lis to play well," the manager concluded.
The two teams produced an evenly matched opening ten minutes in which both had chances.
Boro’s Liam Mears had a golden opportunity on his debut after being put clean through by Onwauchwu’s probing pass from the left flank but despite the time and space being plentiful, his shot was deflected wide for a corner.
At the other end, Simpson’s shot was well saved by Price - another debutant for Mick Catlin’s Gosport.
Boro' had another opening when Luke King’s free kick was charged down by the wall and the ball squirmed to Onwauchwu who tried to set up Mears whose shot was blocked.
The game swung from end to end with both teams having chances as the contest became an absorbing and entertaining affair. Gosport broke through with ten minutes remaining until the break when Alfie Lis’ shot sailed high into the roof of the net after the young midfielder was cleverly played through by Jack Breed.
The second half began in equally entertaining fashion and Bristol saw Simpson waste a chance was he fired wide when clean through. Simpson was equally wasteful minutes later placing a free header wide from Kye Holly’s cross from the right.
Harry Medway produced a goal saving block from Bament who was odds on to score at the far post as the Southern League West Division side pushed for an equaliser which would take the tie to a replay in Bristol on Tuesday.
Gosport continued to resist the visitors best efforts and were forced into a late change as Liam Mears pulled up with a hamstring strain and as immediately replaced by Dale Mason with 12 minutes remaining.
The visitors used all three subs as they did their utmost to try and force a replay and Robbins went closest, being denied by Price in goal for Gosport.
Onwauchwu almost sealed it with a tight shot from a difficult angle which was well saved by Clark but the visitors continued to throw the kitchen sink at their hosts as the game entered stoppage time. Robbins headed wide from a corner, but Boro' held on to book their place in Monday’s second qualifying round draw.
GOSPORT: Price, Page, Medway, Lis (Watts 85), Wakely, Sanders, Breed, King, Onwauchwu, Mears (Mason 78) & Sinclair. SUBS NOT USED: Kimber, Connor and Watch.
BRISTOL M.F: Clark, Turner, Robbins, Stowell (Stamp 81), Kingdon (Mills 46), Groves (Purnell 69), Holly, Durrant, Simpson, Metters, Bament. SUBS NOT USED: Tovey and Harvey.
REFEREE: Jamie Wells
PICTURE: Stephen Cummings
Updated 08:15 - 30 Oct 2017 by Site Manager