Having gone behind to a Dan Wooden header, Paul Hughes’ side required a first half Jack Smith penalty save and a Ben Frempah equaliser in the dying embers of this game to earn a precious point against Gosport Borough at the SKYex.
United were quickly on the front foot against the visitors from Hampshire and with just three minutes on the clock debutant Jordan Ngalo collected the ball in midfield and fed Moses Emmanuel who moved in from the right side and hit a low shot that went just wide of Fynn Talley’s far post.
Excitement wise this was a bit of a false dawn as the next opening in the game took a further 20 minutes to arrive. Cole Brown headed a clearance back into the Gosport half of the field where Francis Amartey took control of the ball and moved into the box before striking a shot that Talley partially blocked with the ball continuing under his body but wide of the far post. The corner kick was worked short to Jack Connors just outside the box, his curled effort for the far corner took a defensive deflection which saw the ball strike the upright before being cleared away.
Soon after a chance apiece emerged but both failed to trouble the scoreboard. Firstly for United, Omar Rowe advanced and fed Emmanuel, the strikers’ neat back heel sending Rowe through only for the midfielder to plant his shot wide of the target. Just a minute later play switched to the other end and a first real chance fell to the visitors when Mason Walsh raced forwards, despite losing the ball in a tackle it ran loose to Billie Busari who struck a curling shot that only just cleared Jack Smith’s goal.
This was quickly followed by United striking the woodwork once again, this time it was Amartey who having broken away on the left, he cut inside the box and despite beating the ‘keeper his shot came back off the post and hit the United man before flying wide of the goal.
On 29 minutes the visitors struck the first blow, having earned a corner on the right, the ball was played in deep by Harvey Rew with Dan Wooden arriving at the far post to head home from close range very much against the run of play.
United had another good chance just a matter of minutes later when an excellent Connors pass down the left side was collected by Amartey who again cut into the box and tried his luck from a tight angle, this time he could only find the side netting.
The visitors were to be awarded a spot kick by referee Oxenham in the 38th minute. Rory Williams throw-in was flicked on by Wooden and as Walsh collected the ball in the box he was adjudged to have been tripped by Cole Brown and the referee awarded a penalty to Gosport. Williams who had started the move stepped up only to be denied by an excellent full length saw from Smith with skipper Charlie Wassmer hammering the loose ball away to safety from virtually under his own crossbar.
Nothing further of note happened and the two sides went in at the break with the side from Hampshire a goal to the good.
Within sixty seconds of the re-start United another opening came for United as Amartey collected a Jack Williams throw-in and moved across the edge of the area before striking a shot that Talley managed to grasp at the second attempt as Emmanuel closed in on the fumbled ball.
Just prior to the hour mark a further brace of chances for a United equaliser came. Amartey fed the ball square to Ngalo but his 20 yard drilled effort was deflected wide for a corner which was to find to head of Ben Frempah but his looping effort landed on the roof of the Gosport net.
Having just moved inside the final 15 minutes of the game, it was Gosport’s turn to strike the same post that United hit in the first half, this time a corner from the left was met by Matthew Briggs with the post denying the visitors before United gratefully cleared their lines.
United finally got a deserved equaliser in the 89th minute when an Elis Watts corner from the right side was played deep into the Gosport six yard box for the well placed Frempah to head home at the far post (pictured above), this being his second goal for United and at full-time with no further clear cut chances it was honours even.
Report by Kevin Watts.
Photos by Stacio Fernandes ©.
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