SKIPPER Jamie Brown has been hit by the devastating news that he will be suspended for the first leg of Gosport Borough’s FA Trophy semi-final on February 15.
The combative ex-Eastleigh midfielder picked up his tenth yellow card of the season in the weekend’s magnificent 2-1 victory at North Ferriby and starts a two-match ban that very Saturday.
But the good news for Southampton-based Brown is that Gosport are due to play a league game at Maidenhead the following Tuesday, freeing him up for the second leg on February 22.
Brown had been unaware that Saturday’s was his tenth booking and was still on the crest of a semi-final wave when news of his suspension hit home yesterday.
What made it worse is that he knows it could have been avoided.
“It’s one of the worst bookings I’ve got. I’m better than that,” he said. “The lad (I fouled) was going away from goal as well. Until then, I hadn’t given a foul away all game.”
Fans’ favourite Brown, though, makes no excuses for his whole-hearted approach to football.
His battling qualities and willingness to go in where it hurts have made the ex-BAT man a regular on the Conference South stage for the best part of a decade with Dorchester, Eastleigh and now Step 2 new boys Borough.
“If I didn’t tackle I wouldn’t be playing in the Wessex League, let alone the Conference South,” he said.
“I know what I can and can’t do and although I might miss a few (tackles), I win a lot more.
“I made a tackle in the box at Eastleigh recently and someone said I was lucky (to get away with it). But like I said then, weren’t we lucky I was there? I shouldn’t have been at right-back in the first place and surely we were the lucky ones that the lad didn’t score.
“It’s a bit of a kick in the goolies that this suspension should land on the semi-final date, but at least I’ll be back for second leg – as long as the Maidenhead game’s on. I might be a groundsman for the day to make sure it is,” he laughed.
“I’ll drive a tractor if needs be, anything, as long as I’m available for the second leg!”
Borough are guaranteed Hampshire company in the Trophy semi-finals with Havant & Waterlooville due to host Aldershot Town in tonight’s delayed quarter-final (7.45pm).
Already through are Grimsby Town, 4-1 winners over Tamworth, and Eastleigh’s conquerors Cambridge United.
The semi-final draw will made this morning (10.30am) live on talkSPORT radio.
“I’d like Grimsby in the semis with the second leg away so I can play up there, beat them and then get Cambridge in the final,” said Brown.
“I want us to be the biggest club in this area and I don’t want Havant or Aldershot anywhere near us!”
Saturday’s win netted Gosport £8,000 from the FA prize fund and there is £16,000 up for grabs for winning semi-finalists. The final is booked for Wembley Stadium on Sunday, March 23.