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Gosport Borough 1 Winchester City 2

on Thu 9 Sep

Winchester made 10 changes to the starting line-up from Saturday with only Max Smith retained and fielded a team consisting mostly of fringe and young players although also containing Ryan Pryce, Simba Mlambo and Joe Hayward who are players with considerable first team experience. However they came from behind in the Southern League Cup to beat Gosport Borough a club in a higher division of the Southern League than themselves 2-1 with two second half goals.

The two clubs last met in 2018/19 when in this competition Gosport won on penalty kicks after the teams had finished 1-1 after 90 minutes. At that time Gosport were managed by Craig Mcallister and Matt Tubbs, the strike partnership that took Crawley into the football league, but their manager now is Shaun Gale who managed the Havant and Waterlooville team who had an excellent run in the F A Cup in the 2007/08 season when they played Liverpool. The club have a good cup tradition and remain the only club from Hampshire to reach the final of the F A trophy. On Saturday they reached the 2nd qualifying round of the F A Cup with a win against Plymouth Parkway who play in the same league as Winchester.

Two members of Gosport's team on Saturday started the match against Winchester, one of these was Ryan Woodford who formerly played for Havant and Waterlooville and in his younger days represented Eastleigh Reserves. However Gosport had other members from Saturday's team on the bench.

The early stages of the match was quite open with both teams having attacks. For Winchester Simba Mlambo had an effort blocked and Adam Grange short wide, while at the other end Pryce was called into action when he tipped a header from Bradley Lethbridge over the bar. However midway through the half Gosport took the lead following a good team move which was finished by Theo Lewis.

On the half hour Winchester lost Dan Bradshaw through injury and although this provided Tom Vincent with an opportunity as substitute it was disappointing to see a valuable member of the squad go off injured.

For the remainder of the first half Winchester had a lot of possession without seriously troubling the home goalkeeper, while Gosport had a couple of half chances to extend their lead.

Early in the second half both teams had off target efforts, but Winchester came close to drawing level when a header from Joe Hayward hit the cross bar. However in the 57th minute Winchester drew level when Ellis Grant made two saves in succession to keep Winchester out, but he could not keep out a third effort, this time from Liam Callaghan. Gosport responded by making two substitutions one of which involved Nicky Dembele who had scored the winning goal on Saturday being one of the players coming on. After the substitutions Gosport had a good spell of pressure and it required a goal line clearance from Alex Haynes to keep them out and they had other dangerous attacks which kept the Winchester defence on their toes.

However the most telling contribution of the night from a substitute came from Winchester's Lex Vaughan when on 77 minutes was part of a great team move  which saw Adam Grange produce an excellent finish into the bottom left corner.

After this Gosport applied a lot of pressure, but Winchester defended very well and it is a good sign for the club that they could almost completely change the team from Saturday and still achieve a battling victory,

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