Gosport crash at Chelmsford despite battling display
The Boro' gave as good as they got for much of the afternoon at the Melbourne Stadium but four unanswered second half goals ensured 5-1 defeat.
It all started so well. When Ben Wright stunned the home crowd into silence after just five minutes in Essex, Gosport got the reward a promising start warranted.
Wright (pictured) hit the target with a well taken half volley and the question on people's lips was could Gosport repeat their trick of Tuesday against Bath - defending the lead and grabbing a shock win and their first away success since Hemel Hempstead in October?
Sadly not. The lead wasn't to last as Kane Haysman scored a fine individual equaliser not long afterwards but a superb first half display from Gosport saw them go in level at half time and deservedly so.
But the play-off chasing hosts weren't to be denied in the second. Manager Rod Stringer made various tactical adjustments including the arrival of an extra striker Anthony Church, which tipped the game in the Clarets favour.
A four goal salvo was enough to settle the game with Church grabbing the second within minutes of his arrival before the troublesome Theophanus, Dickson and another from Haysman blew Boro' away with further goals.
Despite another heavy loss, it was much to Gosport's credit that they once again dug in and fought hard. The result leaves them no better or worse off as Whitehawk's defeat against Truro in Cornwall ensures Gosport remain two points adrift of safety with six games remaining.
The two sides had barely threatened each other when the visitors took the lead after five minutes. Chelmsford failed to clear their lines and Ben Wright latched onto a looping ball to strike a volley past Fitzsimons. He then raced off to celebrate with the travelling Gosport fans behind the goal.
However, the visitors’ lead lasted just six minutes as the Clarets quickly levelled. An inch-perfect through ball allowed Haysman to dart through and the winger did superbly to poke a shot past Nick Jordan and get his first League goal of the season.
Following a fast-paced opening eleven minutes, both sides began to settle down and chances came far and few between them. Gosport were close to regaining the lead midway through the first half when Mark Haines was robbed of possession and Pat Suraci's cross flashed across the face of goal and only a touch was needed to put the visitors ahead again.
Chelsmford began the second half as they started the first, making plenty of chances. Dickson directed a powerful volley which Jordan managed to divert away, before Theophanous then saw his driven cross turned away for a corner.
Nine minutes into the second half the hosts eventually took the lead through Theophanous. The former St Albans City striker accepted Robbie Willmott’s pass through, controlled well on the spot before turning and firing a shot past Jordan.
Haysman continued to prove instrumental in creating chances and almost grabbed a second for himself when he weaved into space, however the winger opted to cross rather than shoot.
City boss Stringer introduced Anthony Church on 62 minutes, along with making some various tactical adjustments. This pushed the balance firmly in the Essex club's favour.
The substitution paid immediate dividends as two minutes later as Church drove home a shot from the edge-of-the-box to put the Clarets two goals ahead. Ross Fitzsimons did superbly to retain the home side’s two-goal lead as he pulled off a sublime point-blanc save from Ben Harding's effort.
Chelmsford then extended their lead. A long-ball forward was controlled excellently by Theophanous, and the striker drove a cross to the far post where Dickson was looming and had the simple task of tapping home.
Haysman was almost denied a second goal as Willmott’s cross flashed past the winger and out the other side, however a minute later he made amends for his miss. The former Sutton United player latched onto the ball at the far post and applied a cool finish.
Substitute Shaun Jeffers came closing to adding a sixth goal for City, however he saw his shot wide.
The defeat was disappointing for Boro'. They had worked extremely hard only for a well drilled home side to clinically dismantle them in the second half.
Next Saturday's home game against Weston Super Mare now has huge significance in Gosport's quest for National South survival.