A Lee Thomas strike seals victory for Town on the South Coast
Town make it 3 wins from the last 4 games with a professional and committed team performance at Privett Park
Match Report by Kevin Hand, photographs by Granty
Gosport Borough v Stratford Town, Saturday 24 February 2018 3.00pm Evo-Stik Southern Premier League at Privett Park.
Gosport 0 Stratford 1 (0-0 HT)
* Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus Julius Caesar Act 1 Scene 2
Privett Park is a proper football ground of pleasing proportions. There is charming signage with the main bar area, The Inn at the Post! The ‘Boro’s’ club badge of a Viking long ship reminds us of Gosport’s maritime heritage as ‘God’s Port – A Safe Haven!’
On a day of beautiful blue skies but freezing temperatures the first note of interest was the team sheet. These have been turbulent times for this friendly and well organized club and there was a belief that none of Boro’s starting eleven were on parade back at the MoodChimp back in September. By contrast Town was fielding nine in the starting line-up from September’s selection.
In an all white strip Town played four at the back with Fry moving into midfield. In a largely uneventful first half Town had the better of the opening exchanges. Gallinagh in particular had lots of room on the right to test the Gosport defence. It was from one of these sorties that Bako found Ahenkorah whose shot was deflected over the bar for a corner. When Grocott’s cross was returned to him his second attempt landed on the Boro crossbar.
It wasn’t until the 26nd minute that Gosport showed any meaningful intent. A long break away run by Ryan Pennery was snuffed out for lack of support. Town was playing a neat, short-passing game but, in truth, with little cutting edge. The half ended with little to enthuse the expectant crowd.
The dynamic of the contest changed dramatically at the start of the second half.
Gallinagh was off with a muscle strain, Fry moved to right back and Marsden came into mid-field. Town pressed from the start and Bako fired over. The pressure built and with the half just 3 minutes old the ball fell to Thomas in the inside left position and he slotted home with authority from ten yards.
For a while Town took charge as they strived to extend their lead before the game declined again into a dull, mid-field battle. There were chances for both sides with the best going to Gosport. On 68 minutes Boro pressed down the left with Sanders and his cross found Matt Mayes close in but he shot wastefully over. In the dying moments of the game (88 miinutes), Craig McAllister fired over from 6 yards and deep into stoppage time substitute Joel Jackson fared no better.
For Town captain Jimmy Fry had an outstanding game with Grocott and Thomas showing good form. Lying 14th next up it’s Hitchin at home (weather permitting) on Tuesday 27 February. For the hosts Hereford at the beginning of March and a crunch tie with Dunstable just round the corner.
• Why, man, he doth bestride the narrow world like a Colossus ( On Jimmy Fry’s performance)