No joy for Boro' at St Ives
After a chaotic 24 hours at Privett Park, Gosport were edged out by relegation rivals as their festive programme got off to a losing start.
Alex Pike's second spell as Gosport Borough manager got off to an uncomfortable start as his team slipped to a 1-0 defeat against St Ives in Cambridgeshire.
A 59th minute winner from Danny Moyes was enough to sink Boro' who travelled to Westwood Road understandably subdued after a whirlwind 24 hours which saw manager Mick Catlin depart and replaced by Pike. But despite this, Gosport had to seek a result against one of their nearest rivals.
As might be expected from such an important game the early exchanges were fairly even with neither side able to create an early chance. Warner-Eley showed his speed and anticipation to cover behind his centre backs and prevent Conor Davis getting a clear run on goal in 14th minute.
Ives first half chance arrived two minutes later as Miles Smith got the bye line on an overlapping run down the right. His attempted pull back deflected off a defender and fell to Ollie Snaith 20 yards from goal but the young striker fired his first time volley well over the top.
The visitor’s best opportunity of the first period came in 19th minute as Pat Sucari found a little bit of space just outside the box but miss-hit his effort looked to be travelling well wide only for Matt Mayes to come sliding in at the far post. Fortunately he was always stretching to reach the ball and only succeeded in knocking his effort wide of the post.
The closest either side came to scoring from a conventional attack in the first half came less than two minutes before the break. A Rogers corner from the left was tipped away by a stretching Price. Moyes volleyed the loose ball back into the mix and it ricocheted away to Ben Baker just inside the box. He had the presence of mind to side step a defender before firing a shot through the crowd that Price kept out with his feet. The save from Lewis Ferrell’s follow up header was a little more routine for the Borough stopper.
Ives came out in positive mood at the start of the second period and took the game to their visitors. Smith was looking for every opportunity to venture forward down the right and he was upended just outside the box by Frankie Paige in 48th minute. Rogers carefully lined up the free kick and curled his effort around the four man wall, but inches the wrong side of Price’s right hand post as the keeper looked on.
Snaith was stretching the Borough back line with his pace and trickery and he caught Harry Medway napping just outside his own box in 54th minute. The Borough centre back unceremoniously upended the young striker to give Ives another free kick in a dangerous position. This time Rogers tried to pick out the run of Kelly, but he was just beaten to the in-swinger by Adam Brice.
The visitors showed that they were still very dangerous on the break and it took the save of the game from Tim Trebes to keep the scores level only two minutes later as a flowing move from their own half was finished with Mayes feeding the ball through to Suraci cutting in from the right. He unleashed a fierce rising drive that was arrowing for the top corner only for the keeper to hurl himself high to his left to palm the ball away with his flying right hand.
That save was made all the more vital just before the hour as Ives went in front. Rogers delivered an in-swinging corner from the right and Snaith managed to get in front of keeper Price unsettling the Borough stopper. He took his eye off the ball which allowed it to bounce inside the six yard box. Veteran centre back Moyes reacted like a seasoned striker getting to the ball first to force his header over the line from point blank range. Price protested long and hard that he had been fouled but the only reward his protestations brought him was a yellow card.
The hosts came close to doubling their advantage in 65th minute as Kelly capitalised on a mistake by Paige to get a run into the box. His shot was bravely blocked by the body of Brice and Medway did equally well to get in the way of the follow up effort from Snaith.
Having survived that scare Borough slowly began to press for an equaliser. Breed, Eddie Wakley and Mayes all fired long range efforts well wide of Trebes goal and as the clock ticked down those of us who have seen so many points go west to late goals this season began to feel our nerves jangling. The last thing we wanted to see was an added five minutes but there had been a number of stoppages in the second period so it was to be predicted.
Ives survived one Borough corner three minutes in with keeper Price up in the box. Fortunately it was hit a little to deep and although Brice won it at the far post he was always stretching and failed to hit the target.
The final minute of the added five arrived and sure enough the visitors carved out a clear cut chance to take a point from the game and deprive Ives of the vital win. But for once lady luck smiled on the hosts as Breed who somehow found himself in acres of space and with only Trebes to beat at the far post, snatched at the opportunity and screwed the ball wildly back across the face of goal. It bobbled agonisingly through the goalmouth just out of reach of Mayes as he slid in and was carefully policed to safety just past the far post by Moyes.
Boro' now make the short trip to Basingstoke on Boxing Day hoping to gain some measure of revenge for their two heavy defeats at the hands of Terry Brown's side earlier in the season.