Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Report: Bashley 1-1 Gosport Borough - FA Cup 1st Qual Rd

Charlie Knight
A MIXED day for Rob Gradwell, a mixed week for Gary Middleton and another last ditch fightback for Gosport Borough saw this FA Cup tie head over to a Privett Park replay.

A cracking cup clash that had a nervy edge throughout seemed destined to end in Bashley's favour following debutant Gradwell's goal with his first touch after 50 seconds, but after a host of chances went begging at both ends, Middleton's inadvertent touch in the dying embers saved Borough's Wembley dream for another year. 

The Bash defender, whose crisp volley sealed an injury time win over Bedworth United the week before repeated his net bulging exploits at the wrong end, turning into the unlikeliest of Gosport heroes.

The visitors meanwhile kept plugging away despite a torrent of second half Bashley pressure and ended up saving the day as they did in last year's play-off final with Poole Town

Gradwell's explosive entrance, bursting through to flick home Charlie Knight's clever cross was the start of a decent performance from the former Basingstoke front man, but he will be kicking himself for not ending the contest with a pair of glorious chances in the second half that could yet come back to bite Bash. 

Middleton meanwhile had a solid enough day before getting the last touch on a deep free kick after Gosport substitute Luke King had made a nuisance of himself. Both Bash players will feel flat despite a good showing on the day.

DEBUT GOAL: Rob Gradwell

After the opener the visitors dominated the first half and arguably should have led at the interval. New signing Steffan Gaisie bullied the Bash backline at times, drawing a smart low stop from Joe Prodomo in the 4th minute before further chances went begging for the usually prolific Justin Bennett and Daniel Smith. 

The second half was a totally different animal though, and for all of Gosport's dominance before the break, it was bettered by the hosts with some neat and tidy approach play.

Gradwell skied two efforts from close range within ten minutes of the restart, the first after a swirling cross from Knight, the second after good work between Jack Smith and James Stokoe.

Sammy Igoe's low drilled effort kept Prodomo alert on the hour while Bennett headed over at the far post shortly afterwards, but Bash were in the ascendency, Stokoe forcing Nathan Ashmore into a point blank save that the Borough custodian repeated to deny Brad Strickland with five minutes to go. 

Bashley's best chance to end the contest came seconds later when Tom Hill skewed horribly wide with the goal at his mercy and Frank Gray's men were made to pay as the clock struck 90 with Middleton's touch trickling agonisingly over the line. 

The feeling at the final whistle was that Bashley may have missed their chance, but if they play the same way in the replay, Gray's charges are capable of getting a result. Gosport's tenacity gives them another bite at the cherry but they will need to show their quality for longer spells to make it count on home soil. 

*Post match reaction from both managers along with my report for the Bournemouth Echo can be found here

BASH: Prodomo, Smith, Finlay, Strickland, Middleton, Richardson, Casey, Hill, Stokoe, Gradwell (Lompato-Pires 88), Knight. 

Unused subs: Gazzard, Farren, Archbold, Gamble, Kearn (g/k). 

Goal: Gradwell 1.

GOSPORT: Ashmore, Woodward, Martin, Poate, Molyneaux, Ford (King 77), Igoe, Smith, Gaisie (Norton 50), Bennett, Wooden. 

Unused subs: Cook, Wilde, Jones, May. 

Goal: Middleton (og) 90. 

STAR MAN: Charlie Knight (Bashley)

Gave the hosts and out-ball in the first half, ran at defenders and tracked back with equal vigour. Got at his marker, Portsmouth target Daniel Woodward, throughout and was unlucky with a few refereeing decisions. Ashmore's double save late on turned the game, but Knight's overall performance deserves the accolade. Knight's class and higher league pedigree is starting to shine through when it matters. 

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