Alex Pike and his new look squad now have a very clear picture of the work they must do if they are to remain in the National South next season.
There was plenty of enthusiasm, energy and industry from his squad but ultimately the season long kryptonite of poor defending was once again to prove their downfall as East Thurrock completed their second 5-1 win of the season against beleaguered Boro.
Four of the five goals were entirely preventable and there is much for Pike, his assistant Shaun Wilkinson and their management team to mull over before their daunting weekend assignment against league leaders Maidenhead United.
They named a drastically different line up to the one that faced Hungerford in their last league outing just over a fortnight ago. There were debuts for Joe Lea, Tony Lee and goalkeeper Dan Thomas on a misty evening at a ghostly looking Aerial Direct Stadium. Duran Martin made his as a second half substitute.
Gosport fell behind virtually immediately when Reece Harris’ deflected effort looped over the head of the stranded Dan Thomas and dropped into the net. Thurrock had immediately threatened on a misty night and Harris’ effort gave them the early advantage.
But there was a new energy about the home side and a sweeping move down the right from Gosport saw them rewarded with a goal, their first from open play for almost two months. Aaron Dawson stormed down the right flank cut inside and set up Wright who lashed the ball home.
No sooner were Gosport level, they fell behind again. A rash challenge from debut making goalkeeper Thomas on Ben Marlow was rightly penalised with a spot kick. Captain Sam Higgins lashed the award high into Thomas’ net to restore the visitors lead.
The Essex club then increased their lead. A defensive lapse from Boro' captain Joe Oastler gave Sam Higgins a chance served on a plate and the Thurrock captain needed no second invitation, smashing the ball in.
The visitors continued to probe as Clark’s long distance effort well saved by Thomas. They went further ahead with 13 minutes until the break . Gosport had had a good spell and were caught completely cold as a simple ball left Reece Harris completely free, unmarked and onside to round Thomas and score. Thurrock bossed the remainder of the first half.
Gosport were forced into a change with Ramone Rose limping off, being replaced by Rowan Vine.
The second half saw Thurrock retain control. Higgins’ free kick was deflected as the Essex side eased off slightly but were still dangerous. Harris was an ever present threat and it took a superb save from Thomas to deny him a hat trick and Thurrock’s fifth. Thomas continued to produce several saves to keep the visitors from inflicting further agony for the time being.
Boro' made two further changes as the game began to draw to a close. Duran Martin replaced Rowan Vine, himself a substitute and Lanahan replaced Wedlake. The home side looked lively for a period and had several penalty appeals waved away by referee Howard, one particularly strong one included.
However a fifth East Thurrock goal was added with four minutes left as Tom Wraight flicked the ball over Thomas leaving Alex Pike and his new look side in no doubt as to the mountain they must climb in the remaining 17 games if they are to survive in the National South.
GOSPORT: Thomas, Wedlake (Lanahan 61), Bird, Lea, Oastler, Brice, Dawson, Whittingham, Lee, Wright & Rose (Vine 38) (Martin 75). SUBS NOT USED: Carmichael & Bailey.
EAST THURROCK: Lidakevicius, Osifuwa, Clark, Wood, Salaimi, Craddock, Gardner (Freiter 70), Marlow, Higgins (Honesty 81),Harris (Walker 81) & Wraight. SUBS ALL USED:
Updated 08:03 - 25 Jan 2017 by Site Manager
YELLOW CARDS: Lee (Gosport) Clark (E.Thurrock)