First league win for Catlin's Project Survial
Debutant James Thompson headed home the only goal of a tense basement battle as Boro' recorded their first win.
Mick Catlin cut a relieved figure after his Gosport Borough team finally achieved their first league win of the season against Dunstable.
The meeting of the two basement dwellers had been billed as a “six pointer” even this early in the season. Debutant James Thompson’s header in first half stoppage time (pictured) proved to be the difference between the teams at the end as the visitors had Dale Young sent off as early as the 15th minute.
The result - Boro's first Evo-Stilk South success in 17 attempts - moved Gosport to within two points of safety and with the long-imposed transfer embargo finally lifted, Catlin now has the tools to work with to push his team on towards safety.
The Gosport manager let on afterwards that he had had a pre-match discussion with his players and called the task of staying up "Project Survival" and the win against Tony McCool's team was an important first step in achieving this aim.
Catlin threw both of his new signings - Thompson and the returning Lee Molyneaux - straight into the heat of battle and both had key roles in the team's performance.
Molyneaux's experience was vital after the departure of Luke King to Farnborough and the Park Gate based defender was handed the captain's arm band and produced a true captain's performance.
Both sides had early chances courtesy of Mears for Gosport and Arel Amu for the visitors. Osei-Bonsu tested Tom Price with a free kick from the edge of the Gosport area but the Boro' keeper made a decent save at his near post.
The game took an unexpected twist after quarter of an hour when Dunstable were reduced to ten men when Ryan Young was sent off after an altercation with Gosport’s Lee Molyneaux. Referee Ryan was left in little doubt of what course of action he should take, immediately issuing a straight red card.
Gosport began to press the numerical advantage home with new signing James Thompson impressing. Thompson had a goal ruled out on his debut for offside but he and Gosport weren’t to be denied.
In first half stoppage time, a deep Eddie Wakely cross from the wide right was powerfully headed home by the debutant at the far post.
Gosport made an urgent start to the second half, seeking to extend their lead. Wakely’s free kick was eventually held by Hayes after the young Gosport defender’s effort initially troubled the visiting keeper. Mears and Lis also went close.
Dunstable began a real push for the equaliser as an uneventful second half began to draw to a close as Zach Birse fired just wide. Gosport were able to see the game out however and finally bank that long awaited and eagerly anticipated first win of the season.