Sunday, 7 September 2014

Gosport Borough 0 v 1 Boreham Wood

Saturday 6th September 2014
Conference South
Privett Park, Gosport
Admission: Free
Programme: £2.00 
Attendance: 643
Match Rating: 4

For this year's Non League Day, after trawling through the Internet during the preceding days to find the most attractive promotion or activity day at a club I had not previously visited, I chose a return to Hampshire for the second time in seven days, although this time to the east side of the Solent. Gosport Borough has been on my radar for a long time, and when the club announced that they would be offering all Football League season ticket holders free entry, instead of the usual £13.00, I set off along the south coast once more armed with my Charlton Athletic season ticket.

Privett Park is not the easiest of grounds to access by train, which is probably why I haven't visited before today. Portsmouth Harbour station is the closest, but requires a 5 minute ferry crossings and then a two mile walk or bus ride. Instead I opted to alight at Fareham station, five miles away from the ground but with a very regular bus service taking about 20 minutes. The football stadium is located on a recreation ground, and backs onto a cricket ground. Once inside, it's an interesting ground that has a few charming aspects to it, but overall is a rather forgettable place, although credit for a very neat, tidy and spacious facility, the result of some extensive ground improvement work over the summer. One enters behind a goal, where there is the clubhouse, which is as plain and soulless on the outside as it is on the inside. A covered step immediately to the front of the clubhouse is a popular vantage point, with hard standing available close to the pitch. Moving from the corner flag there are some low buildings housing the tea bar and clubhouse shop, whilst straddling the half way line is probably the highlight of the ground, a tall old fashioned blue stand. It has bench seating and has plenty of obscuring pillars, but it remains a welcome change from the modern stands - of which one is placed on the opposite length. Beyond the main stand is a double decker hospitality suite, newly installed and looking a little bit odd but no doubt a vital source of revenue for the club. Above this stand, one can see Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower from the Main Stand. Behind the remaining goal is just hard standing. The programme was excellent, an all too rare example of a programme being worth two pounds. Containing 56 pages, with a reasonable level of advertising, there was more than enough of interest to read about the club's various teams, today's opponents and the league in general. A slight blip was the front cover stating a 19.45 kick off for this match.

Both teams have made good starts to the season, particularly Gosport, who were one of only teams unbeaten so far this season, and had conceded just one goal. They have won two and drawn three of their five games so far. Boreham Wood have won three and drawn one of their games so far, but have also lost two, having played a game more than Gosport.

On a humid and only occasionally sunny afternoon, this match started extremely competitively and end to end, and both teams creating reasonable chances, although a pattern soon developed of Boreham Wood playing good football along the ground whilst Gosport tended to launch their attacks with a more direct approach, although the forward balls tended to lack accuracy. More clear cut chances started to develop around the half hour mark when Gosport had the chance of the half. A cross to the edge of the area was chested down by Steve Ramsey, who thumped a fabulous shot on the turn which came back off the bar. Three minutes later and the visitors had their best chance of the half, but Austin Lipman struck a powerful shot just wide of goal from the edge of the area. On the stroke of half time, the home side again came agonisingly close to taking the lead, but Ramsey's powerful goalbound low drive was cleared off the line by a defender. 

Boreham Wood started the second half very much in the ascendancy playing good possession football and carving out some good chances as Gosport struggled to make an impression. The visitors deservedly opened the scoring on 57 minutes. Following some good passing in and around the penalty area, a perfectly judged pass found Lee Angol to the left of the goal, and after advancing a few paces, thumped a low shot past the keeper and into the far corner. Although the home side came more into the game as the second half wore on, one had the feeling that Boreham Wood would hold out, until the last minute of normal time. Gosport would be denied by the woodwork for a second time, when Tom Dunford's curling shot came back off the bar, and within moments, Mike Carter struck a powerful shot past the keeper but the ball went just the wrong side of the far post. In the last of six minutes of additional time, Gosport's keeper came up for a corner and almost got his head to the ball, but after the ball was blocked, a further cross was intercepted and cleared upfield, although Boreham Wood players did not show enough urgency to have a shot on the unguarded net. They did force three desperate blocks in quick succession, but the referee then blew the full-time whistle. This was an entertaining game which, on the overall balance of play, Boreham Wood deserved to win, yet Gosport could count themselves extremely unfortunate to have gotten nothing from this game, having hit the woodwork twice and a shot cleared off the line.

Video highlights of this game can be found here

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