Swindon Supermarine travel south on Saturday to take on fourth from bottom side Gosport Borough, in a game that Marine boss Lee Spalding expects to see a better all-round defensive performance from the Poole match last weekend writes Nick Taylor.
The two sides previously faced each other back at The Webbs Wood Stadium on 1st December, Marine running out winners 2-1, thanks to strikes from Stuart Fleetwood and Ryan Campbell, see photo above.
Spalding’s squad will now face a Borough side rejuvenated by a confidence boosting 3-1 home victory last weekend to fellow strugglers Frome Town, whilst the visitors needed extra-time on Tuesday night to overcome Westbury United 4-1 in the Wilts Senior Cup Semi-Final, having drawn 1-1 at home to play-off hopefuls Poole Town in the league last Saturday.
The majority of Gosport’s tally of 32 points have been collected at home and Spalding is under no illusions that his side are going to have to defend far better as a team if they are to return to Wiltshire with the points.
“Gosport are a team with two good forwards and a decent attacking threat. They look to use their two big lads up front, put balls into the box and put you under pressure, so it’s a day where we are going to have to defend well,” Spalding told the Swindon Advertiser this week.
Gosport’s player-manager Craig McAllister has warned his players ahead of the encounter that hard work remains to be done as they remain caught up in a relegation dog-fight. Speaking to The Portsmouth News this week, McAllister said, “It’s important we back up last week’s win with another one. Too many times this season we have done well and then let things slip in the next game.”
The fixture, on paper, promises goals, with Borough far stronger at home than on the road and carry a goal-threat in young forward Ryan Pennery, whilst Marine have only achieved four clean sheets so far in the season, but striker Conor McDonagh (22 goals) will be keen to close the gap on Weymouth’s Brandon Goodship (24) and Wimborne Town’s Tobi Holmes (23) in the race for the league’s ‘Golden Boot’.
Vastly experienced midfielder Mike Carter, on a month’s loan from Havant & Waterlooville, is expected to start in central midfield again for Borough as he looks to continue his rehabilitation from ankle surgery in December.
With Will Henry having returned to Swindon Town from his second loan spell at Marine, keeper Martin Horsell will make his second appearance for his new side, having served a one match ban for his sending off against Frome Town. After bagging a brace of goals in the cup success on Tuesday night, Josh Parsons is expected to return to the Marine squad for the trip to Hampshire.