Tarbuck 22, Wooden 42

GOSPORT Borough inflicted a seventh league defeat of the season on Dorchester Town as they emerged 2-0 winners at the Avenue Stadium.

Amidst difficult conditions the Boro’ struck twice in the first half to seal the three points. Firstly, through former Magpie, Bradley Tarbuck, before Dan Wooden added a second shortly before half-time.

Overall, Dorchester struggled to really test the Gosport defence, the Magpies registering no shots on target throughout the contest.

Dorchester boss, Robbie Herrera, handed debuts to new signings Thiago Caze da Silva and Flavio Tavares. Alan Walker-Harris also replaced the injured Gerard Benfield in goal whilst Billy Lowes returned to the starting line-up following a period of Covid-19 isolation.

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Despite the heavy downpours Dorchester began the brighter of the two sides. In the third minute Tom Purrington burst forward and hit a shot which visiting keeper, Albert White, claimed comfortably.

Moments later Gosport had the first shot on target of the game as Tarbuck ran unchallenged, through the Dorchester defence, before firing straight at Walker-Harris.

Tarbuck’s shot proved to be a foreshadowing of how the game would unfold as Gosport enjoyed several half chances shortly afterwards.

In the 17th minute the Boro’ felt they should have been awarded a penalty after Walker-Harris appeared to make contact with striker Wooden, as he attempted to clear a cross. Gosport’s bench in particular venting their frustration with the match officials.

The visitors though would not have to wait long for their opener. Just five minutes later and the aforementioned Tarbuck made it 1-0 to the Boro’.

Firstly, the winger latched onto a knockdown, from Wooden, before cutting inside Caze da Silva and finishing expertly, at Walker-Harris’ near post.

The goal seemed to energise the Gosport support, who had travelled in reasonable numbers for the game.

Soon after a free kick from the visitors caused panic, in the Magpies 18-yard-box, as Harry Hodges sliced a clearance into the air only for Theo Widdrington to narrowly volley wide.

Gosport midfielder, Rory Williams, then became the first player to be cautioned, in the 33rd minute, when he was penalised for a foul on Tavares.

Williams though would enjoy a much more positive contribution to the game shortly afterwards.

Just minutes before the half-time interval, Lowes was deemed to have committed a foul, which would ultimately lead to Gosport’s second goal of the afternoon.

Stepping up, Williams, curled a wicked free kick to Walker-Harris’ near-post, which allowed Wooden to volley home with aplomb.

The half-time whistle arrived minutes later, and Gosport were worthy holders of their 2-0 lead.

Emerging for the second half, Dorchester’s challenge to claim even a draw from the game looked ominous.

Gosport’s central defensive pairing of Ryan Woodford and former Premier League player, Matthew Briggs, looked particularly dominant, for the visitors.

Similar to the first half Dorchester started brightly. Rudy Plummer forced an early corner, from which Caze da Silva attempted to connect with acrobatically.

Dorchester continued to press, earning a number of free kicks and corners within the opening five minutes of the half.

However, like the first half Gosport responded well and soon began to create chances around the Dorchester 18-yard box.

Williams’ crosses, in particular, were once again proving a test for the Dorchester defence. In the 64th minute Wooden came within inches from heading home one such delivery, only to head just over the bar.

As the game looked to be following a familiar pattern to the first half Dorchester boss Herrera introduced Christos Papakonstantinou and Oakley Hanger in an attempt to get back into the game.

Regardless, it was Gosport who continued to control the tempo of the game.

Fifteen minutes from full-time Wooden robbed Caze da Silva of possession and squared for Tarbuck who could only shoot wide.

Minutes later another Gosport corner caused problems in the Dorchester six-yard box.

On this occasion the Magpies were thankful for the positioning of Tiago Sa who was able to hack clear the ball, off his own goal line.

The final minutes of the game saw both Dorchester debutants booked for late challenges.

From a free-kick in the 86th minute Briggs thought he had scored Gosport’s third goal of the match but for the linesman to raise his flag for offside.

Ultimately, the decision did not matter as Gosport were able to see out the remainder of the game and stay second in the Southern League Premier South standings.

Magpies: Walker-Harris, Hodges (Hanger 75), Caze da Silva, Buckley, Sa, Lowes, Purrington, Tavares, Stanley, Phillips (Papakonstantinou 68), Plummer. Subs not used: Bayston, Burns, Madden.

Gosport Borough: White, Rew, Hallett, Woodford, Briggs, Tarbuck, Widdrington, Wooden (Dembele 83), Lea, Mbayo (Wheeler 68), Williams (Busari 76). Subs not used: Lewis, Grant.

Attendance: 278