Blues 2 Gosport 1

jc5Blues came from behind to make it four straight home wins on Tuesday evening as goals from Jordan Westcott and Darren Foxley gave them the points against basement side Gosport.

The fixture always looked a potential banana-skin for Stortford and they struggled to find the rhythm that had marked their play in the second half of the previous match against Redditch United.

They found it hard to get going against Gosport even though they edged the possession throughout and a lot of their attacks, particularly in the first half, looked disjointed.

Manager Kevin Watson fielded an unchanged starting 11 while Callum Taylor was on the bench after serving his three match suspension following a red card at Hereford.

Borough striker Ben Wright was close with a 20 yard shot in the third minute but generally it was Stortford who were calling the tune in the early stages.jc1

In the sixth minute Westcott was just beaten to a Jamie Cureton pass by a Borough defender at the near post who conceded a corner and the resultant Darren Foxley flag-kick was punched away at the same upright by keeper Patrick O’Flaherty.

Three minutes later Alfie Mason, having intercepted some loose passing by the visiting defence, linked with Cureton down the middle but then shot straight at O’Flaherty.

In the 12th minute George Casey had a shot well saved by the Gosport stopper who diverted away for a corner.

In a rare attack Borough’s Pat Suraci shot into the side-netting in the 14th minute but Stortford came back with Cureton and Casey going close.

jc3Following on a period of scrappy play the visitors took the lead in the 23rd minute. Suraci crossed into the box from the right and when the ball was deflected out to Rowan Vine he connected perfectly first time from 20 yards distance to smash the ball into the bottom right hand corner.

After this set-back the Blues fought back with Mason having a shot blocked in the area while Foxley had an effort held by O’Flaherty.

Then in the 36th minute Westcott caught defender Edward Wakeley in possession and when the ball ran free Cureton cut in from the left but delivered his shot narrowly wide of the near post.

Vine had an opportunity to extend Borough’s lead three minutes before the break but shot straight at Callum Kitscha whilst at the other end a minute later Foxley saw his effort tipped over the bar by O’Flaherty.

The Blues seemed fired up immediately after the restart as an early long range shot from skipper Mark Hughes produced a good save by O’Flaherty diving to his right.

An incisive attack involving Hughes and Cureton led to Foxley making tracks goalwards but the falling O’Flaherty managed to scramble the ball away.

Cureton headed wide from a Foxley cross from the left flank in the 53rd minute but three minutes later the Blues were successful in forcing an equaliser although the goal was controversial. Foxley played a short free-kick to Tom Clifford who delivered the ball across the box from the left. Jamie Cureton dummied over the ball and it ran on to Westcott, in space at the back post, and he gave O’Flaherty no chance with a powerful drive, The referee signalled a goal but an assistant referee had his flag up apparently on the basis of Cureton being in an offside position. After consultation with his colleague referee Bloy awarded the goal and pointed to the centre circle much to the annoyance of the visiting players and officials.

Stortford were close to adding a second goal in the 69th minute as a great pass from deep in his own half by Casey sent Cureton through on goal but O’Flaherty denied the striker pushing the shot round the post. Blues’ winner arrived in the 74th minute. Westcott sent a long pass up the right flank to Mason who did well to maintain possession before laying the ball short inside to Foxley whose shot from the right edge of the box

flew past a statuesque keeper and inside the far post.

Foxley then nearly added another goal in the 77th minute when, receiving the ball from a Hughes free-kick, his effort was held by O’Flaherty. Cureton surprised the Gosport defence with a shot that went across the six yard box while Ben Wright’s free-kick ten minutes from time was straight at Kitscha.

But Stortford were largely in control and comfortable in the closing moments. After good work by Foxley on the left Hughes had a drive that was blocked away by a defender for a corner and in added time substitute Callum Taylor struck a good effort that was stopped by O’Flaherty.

Kitscha was only extended late on when he had to stretch to catch a cross from Edward Wakeley.

STORTFORD: Calum Kitscha; George Casey; Tom Clifford; Mark Hughes; Marvel Ekpiteta; Joe Robinson; Jordan Westcott; Jack Thomas; Alfie Mason (Callum Taylor 78); Jamie Cureton; Darren Foxley.

Unused substitutes: Freddie Oakman, Max Brassington, Chad Cruse and Marcus Crowther.

GOSPORT BOROUGH: Patrick O’Flaherty; Edward Wakeley; Harry Medway; Charlie Ten-Grotenhuis; Harvey Read; Ed Sanders; Ryan Pennery (Stephane Bomelenga 61); Jordan Brooks; Ben Wright; Rowan Vine (Joe Lea 70); Pat Suraci (Joel Jackson 78).

Unused substitutes: Josh Warren and Zak Sharp.

Referee:  Rick Bloy

Attendance: 211