GOSPORT Borough chairman Mark Hook has praised boss Alex Pike for his record in winning one-off games “when it matters most.”
Pike aims to become the first manager to ever win both the FA Vase and FA Trophy when he sends Borough into action against Cambridge United at Wembley this Sunday.
Having won the Vase with Wimborne in 1992, Pike now stands on the brink of another remarkable victory in the Trophy final against higher division Cambridge.
The odds are against Gosport, as they were when Wimborne beat red hot favourites Guiseley to lift the Vase 22 years ago.
But Hook knows Pike’s recent record at Gosport is exceptional – three promotions in seven seasons taking them from the Wessex League to the Conference South.
The last two promotions have been via the play-offs, and away from home in the final on both occasions with the odds against stacked against Pike.
So it has been the case again in the Trophy this term, when Gosport went to higher division Nuneaton and then Conference North table toppers North Ferriby and triumphed.
“I’ve got tremendous confidence in Alex (Pike) and the team around him,” said Gosport councillor Hook. pictured right. “He has the rare ability of winning one-off games when it matters most. “He did that against Sholing in the first play-off semi final two seasons ago and then against Poole Town when we equalised in the 90th minute and went on to win it extra-time in 2011/12.
“He did it against Stourbridge (last season in the play-off semi final) when we were 1-0 down and won 2-1.
“Then he did it in the final against Hemel Hempstead when we won on penalties in the Southern Premier. “And again this season, we’ve seen it when we’ve gone to play the likes of Nuneaton, they were fourth in the (Conference) Premier at the time and we won on penalties.
“He (Pike) is a charismatic individual, an influential character with impeccable man management skills.
“He will get the best out of anyone whether you’re a footballer, a journalist or from any background.”
Read a big interview with Gosport chairman Mark Hook in this weekend’s Gosport v Cambridge United FA Trophy final special pullout in the Sports Pink.