Gosport Borough 0-1 Tiverton Town
By Simon Ellis
Back to back wins for the Yellows
More often than not, when you`re down and out luck is usually not on your side. However, there is usually a precise moment you can pinpoint when that changes. Case in point at the latest fixture. Four minutes of injury time was almost up at the end of the match when Gosport Borough centre forward and son-in-law of Martyn Rogers Craig McAllister found the ball at his feet no more than ten yards from goal and he seemed destined to break Yellow hearts and snatch a last gasp equaliser but out of nowhere a gloved hand of Liam Armstrong tipped his effort wide of the post to ensure all three points made the trek back to Devon and if the Yellows do avoid relegation this season, which is looking likely going with recent form, you can be sure that that moment will last long in the memory.
Three wins in the last four matches have seen the Yellows climb the table to fourteenth, away from the dreaded drop zone although not since the reverse fixture between the sides back at the start of the year had the Yellows managed to keep a clean sheet and, as already said, they needed a big helping hand to ensure they recorded a victory in the latest fixture. A solitary Levi Landricombe goal secured a one-nil victory at Ladysmead on January 8th, after the first fixture was washed out and he repeated the dose with a first half injury time penalty, after eagle-eyed referee Shelby Elson spotted a handball and pointed to the spot, for league goal number seventeen of the season.
Ben Mammola, making his first appearance since injuring his ankle at Hendon, replaced the absent Michael Landricombe in the only change from those who had brilliantly seen off high-flying Met. Police previously while Stewart Yetton, fresh from his recent facial injury, fit enough only for a place amongst the substitutes with a super-hero style face guard and the hosts welcomed new signings James Cowan and Josh Huggins in to their squad. Long before his injury time heroics, Armstrong had already denied the hosts an early lead when he acrobatically tipped over a Ryan Pennery header and midway through the half he was at his best again when he saved a well struck free kick. The hosts though were not having things their own way, the Yellows giving as good as they were getting as a Davis through cross was only millimetres away from giving Bath the simple opportunity of tapping in and Levi Landricombe came the closest of all to opening the scoring before he eventually did, his drive from the edge of the area crashed back in to play off the crossbar.
The half appeared to be petering out, both sides seemingly intent on a goalless opening forty-five, until Davis and Key combined down the right and the former produced a delightful flick towards the lurking Landricombe, which struck the out-stretched arm of a Gosport defender leaving Elson with no option other than to point to the spot and Landricombe duly obliged from twelve yards in first half stoppage time, which was largely due to the fact that Pat Suraci picked up a knock and was eventually replaced by debutant Josh Cowan, despite O`Flaherty guessing correctly which way he would go.
The Yellows (playing in white for the record) made the brighter start to the second period and it seemed only a matter of time before they extended their lead further and took the pressure off the back line. Callum Hall missed two good opportunities and O`Flaherty produced a smart save to deny Landricombe a second, so the second goal never arrived, and the defensive line lead by captain and Man of the Match Jamie Price sunk deeper and deeper in to their own half. Time after time Price was in exactly the right place to head clear the countless number of crosses that came in and in the final minutes he found himself perfectly positioned to hack an effort off his goal line before Armstrong produced his miraculous save in the dying seconds to secure what could turn out to be a vital victory.
Tiverton: Liam Armstrong, Josh Key, Callum Hall, JAMIE PRICE, Ben Mammola, Jordan Dyer, Max Smallcombe, Steve Colwell, Tom Bath, Levi Landricombe (Stewart Yetton 87), Harrison Davis (Scott Rogers 90+1).
Goal: Levi Landricombe 45+1 pen.