Boro' beat the traffic but not Stratford
From traffic jams and arriving late to another defeat, it proved to be a stressful day at the office for caretaker boss Danny Thompson.
This was far from a hassle free Saturday for all at Gosport Borough.
At 12:30 the Boro' team coach was sat at Junction 9 of the M3 just outside of Winchester with 105 miles still to travel to reach the day's destination Stratford on Avon.
The weary travelling band of players, officials and supporters had taken three long hours just to get that far thanks to a major incident shutting the motorway for over 12 hours.
The concern was whether or not they would reach the Warwickshire town in time to play. Caretaker Manager Danny Thompson was frantically trying to contact the home club to see what the situation would be if they arrived past a certain time.
It was far from ideal preparation for a team already bottom of the league without a single point to their name thus far. In the end, the team arrived just in time and a 3.15pm kick off was agreed.
Then the players rewarded Thompson with a highly encouraging performance which belied their lowly position and flew in the face of a traumatic week which had seen the end of Alex Pike's 12 years at the club and the departure of Chinedu Vine. Aaron Dawson then announced that this was to be his final game before moving on.
Just to add to it, Boro's former manager also gave a lively interview on local radio in midweek which certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons. In light of this, the team had in their former manager's parlance "a free hit" at Stratford as given everything, the pressure was off.
And they certainly gave their all in a pleasing display and used that free hit as best they could. Unfortunately for them, as has become familiar in recent games, the game was effectively lost inside the opening quarter. Two early goals was enough to do the damage again and despite a huge display of character and a hugely encouraging performance.
It only took Stratford five minutes to take the lead. Charlie Evans cut in from the right to hit a fierce effort which was turned behind by Gosport keeper Matt Cafer with Will Grocott’s resulting corner kick being turned in by Liam Francis.
Soon after a thunderous Ben Stephens’ drive cannoned against Cafer’s right hand post before Stratford went two up on 11 minutes. A flowing move involving Stephens and Justin Marsden ended with Grocott drilling the ball past Cafer into the bottom corner from 20 yards out.
In a rare Gosport attack, Matt Buse blazed wastefully over after Stratford keeper Louis Connor had dropped an Obi Saidy cross before the first half ended as it had begun with Cafer beating away another rasping left footer from Evans.
Gosport came more into the game after the break with Connor twice having to make smart saves to prevent the lively Iffy Onwuachu from pulling a goal back and then pushing Aaron Dawson’s shot round the post after the Gosport skipper had intercepted the keeper’s poorly hit clearance.
But with a quarter of an hour to go, only the crossbar kept out a stinging right footer from substitute Eli Bako on his Stratford debut as Gosport’s winless run continued.
They now travel to Kings Langley on Tuesday with confidence and hope of finally breaking that league duck. All those who made the trip to the Midlands believe that elusive opening point is closer than ever before.