This game was billed and documented as a 6 pointer but I was not really getting sucked into that. It’s not even Christmas. Were we highly charged and acutely aware of where we are in the league? Of course we are. But we are also highly aware of the performances we have put in against teams much higher up the table and we keep getting better and better despite ongoing bad luck and setbacks.
It was great to meet Mick Catlin and he comes across as a really honest knowledgeable guy and very realistic. We of course were able to share our stories of misfortune and the embargo placed on them certainly sounds like a real nightmare to work under. But they got there reprieve this week. No disrespect, but typical for us. Because we seem to bring everyone some fortune when we come to town. So, they were able to move quickly and two of the players they brought in were the difference in the game with two huge impacts on it.
One of Gosport’s new signings, striker James Thompson, scored a neat header in the top corner against the run of play in a scrappy first half. We again created many chances and that was after the game was barely 10 minutes in and we had our man sent off in a very harsh fashion. Ryan Young has never lashed out at anyone and their other new signing centre back Lee Molyneux showed his experience after Ryan had demonstrated his electric pace that would give this team a very difficult afternoon. He gripped him round the throat and Ryan reacted instinctively by throwing his arm out and accidently caught Lee in the face. It was from behind and was meant as “get off” not an intended strike but the players got around the referee and he was influenced into a red card, yet no action was taken on the throat grip which provoked it.
So the vast majority of this game we played with 10 men. We started with 9 players out through suspension, injury and family sickness so we were already stretched. Two of our three new signings started and were terrific as despite the setback we showed great character as always to totally dominate the second half with a man down and came close on a number of occasions. With a third of the game to go, we went for it and put on our third new signing Charlie Black and changed formation to 3 3 3. But despite that and coming very close we couldn’t find a goal and much of that has to be credited to Lee Molyneux who as well as his earlier influence, was terrific defending and organising the young players around him. He certainly will make a huge difference to Gosport and with a couple more added they will certainly start to win some games. I am genuinely pleased for Mick and the club to get this relief and be able to compete ‘fairly’. I just wish the good news had come next week.
Andrew Osei-Bonsu our influential flying playmaker had to come off due to a nasty dislocation of his finger. It shows the spirit of these players. So we remain the only team now in the league without a player’s budget at all this season. Our players play for free and have done from day one. They haven’t given up, walked away, downed tools. They haven’t gone to other clubs that have tried to turn their heads. They have stayed loyal to me and our great club and that commitment was demonstrated further when I had to physically drag Andrew off the pitch to get him to hospital with his finger dislocated he said, “No, I’m playing, just strap it up till the end”. That is the spirit of our club, its players, its staff, its board, its fans and our community. We are competing in games. We have players returning and results will follow for certain!