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FA Trophy semi-final: Gosport Borough 2 Havant & Waterlooville 0 (Gosport win 3-1 on aggregate)
Gosport Borough are celebrating a historic victory after reaching Wembley for the first time.
Striker Tim Sills headed a goal in each half as Havant & Waterlooville, their Skrill South rivals, were beaten in front of a crowd of 2,901 – the biggest at Privett Park since the 1950s.
Sills, who also gave Gosport the lead in the first leg, headed the opener at the far post from Adam Wilde’s in-swinging corner on the stroke of half-time.
And he prompted even more jubilant scenes when he doubled the home side’s advantage on the hour, ensuring a place in the FA Trophy final against Cambridge United on March 23.
Gosport manager Alex Pike rushed on to the pitch with goalkeeping coach Wayne Shaw in celebration when Sills drifted into space and nodded Mike Gosney’s long ball past Scott Bevan, the former Saints goalkeeper.
But the drama was not over. Moments later Gosport captain Brett Poate, a former Saints trainee, was given a straight red card for kicking Perry Ryan, the combative Havant midfielder. Referee Tim Robinson had no choice but to send him off.
Winger Wilde, a barber from Southampton, had impressed but was immediately replaced by left-back Dan Wooden as Gosport played the last half-hour – plus six minutes injury time – with ten men.
Gosney dropped to the flanks as Gosport regrouped and Sills was given a standing ovation when he was replaced by Rory Williams with ten minutes remaining.
Gosport could have won by more.
Lee Molyneaux volleyed over from close range from a Wilde corner at the beginning of the second half and Josh Carmichael put a free header wide from close range at the near post following another dead ball from the excellent Wilde.
For all their first half possession, Havant lacked a cutting edge. Not until Ryan thundered a 30th-minute 25-yarder narrowly wide of the top corner did they threaten to beat Gosport goalkeeper Nathan Ashmore.
Midfielder Ryan created the visitors’ best chance with an excellent pass for Nic Ciardini on the left flank towards the end of the first half, but the scorer of Havant’s equaliser on Tuesday night failed to hit the target this time, blazing wide after cutting on to his right foot.
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