FA Trophy: Gosport hope to be a cut above

Daily Echo: Adam Wilde Adam Wilde

GOSPORT Borough’s Adam Wilde is hoping to cut Havant & Waterlooville down to size  – and reach Wembley.

The Southampton barber is one of several Sotonians in the Gosport side that takes on their Skrill South rivals in today’s FA Trophy semi-final, which is finely balanced at 1-1 after the first-leg.

Gosport are expecting a 3,000-plus crowd – their biggest attendance since the 1950s – at Privett Park, where they will be playing for the right to take on Cambridge United, 34 year-old Wilde’s first club, or Grimsby Town at Wembley next month.

Southampton-born Wilde, who owns Duo Hair in East Street, said: “It’s going to be massive, this is the biggest game I’ve ever been involved in, everyone’s absolutely buzzing.

“Reaching Wembley would fulfil a boyhood dream. I went there to see Wade Elliott, a friend of mine, score the winner for Burnley in their play-off final against Sheffield United five years ago, but playing there would be something else.

“We’re the underdogs, despite a great result in the first leg but anything can happen in a cup tie.

“The pitch is heavy, but we’ve trained on it and it’s playable.”

Havant will field two former Saints and are unbeaten in 14 games after Nic Ciardini fired in Tuesday night’s 59th minute equaliser, Tim Sills having given Gosport a shock lead early in the second half.

Ex-Saints midfielder Pedro Monteiro (aka Pele), who played 37 games under George Burley in 2006/07 before moving to West Brom and Falkirk, is in his first season with Havant.

So too is Scott Bevan, who was born in Southampton and attended Weston Park Secondary school (now Oasis Academy, Mayfield).

Bevan was released by Saints without making a first-team appearance a decade ago, before going on to play for AFC Wimbledon, Kidderminster, Shrewsbury, Torquay and Bristol Rovers.

Having joined Havant last summer, he is preparing to play in another big cup tie involving a Hampshire non-league club, having been in the Bristol Rovers side that beat AFC Totton 6-1 in the FA Cup second round two seasons ago.

Gosport’s side also features three of Wilde’s former Totton teammates; goalkeeper Gareth Barfoot, Mike Gosney and Ryan Scott.

Other familiar faces include ex-Eastleigh and Winchester City stars Andy Forbes and Danny Smith, former GE Hamble star Rory Williams and ex-Saints academy left-back Brett Poate, who impressed against his old club in the first leg.

But Southampton-based Jamie Brown is suspended.

“It’s always a good game when we play Saints v Pompey in training!” laughed Wilde.

Hopefully he will still be smiling after today's clash, along with his pals at Sholing following their last-16 FA Vase tie against Larkhall Athletic. Both matches kick off at 3pm.

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