By Anthony Scott
Joint interim-manager Alan Payne was disappointed after watching Whitehawk surrender a two-goal lead at home to Gosport in an eight-goal thriller.
Chris Flood scored in the fourth minute of stoppage time to earn Borough a point at the Enclosed Ground.
In truth, the draw will feel like a defeat for the Hawks, who missed a penalty to go 5-3 up with just two minutes of normal time to go.
Glen Southam then saw red for a second bookable offence late on before the hosts conceded a fourth late on.
Payne said: “It was a game we should have won, and won comfortably.
“Only one in a million teams can concede four goals and win the game.
“After defending really well at St. Albans on Tuesday, it was really surprising to see what happened today. A manager’s nightmare is inconsistency, and that will be addressed.”
Ben Strevens, the other joint-manager, saw a penalty saved before the Hawks were made to rue that miss in added time.
“The penalty miss was crucial regardless of how you look at it,” admitted Payne.
“We played particularly well after the break, and we should have done enough to win the game.
“Anyone can miss a penalty – but no team should let in four goals.
“I am very disappointed. We have experienced players who should know how to manage the game, but I feel let down tonight by the whole group of players and have not seen the game out.
“Two goals up, shooting down the hill and with the wind as well, we should never have given them a chance of getting into the game.”
Gosport took an early lead when Flood ran on to a long ball before playing across to Ben Wright, who despite looking offside, gave the visitors an eighth minute advantage.
They held on to that lead until just after the half hour mark, as Ahmed Abdulla teed up Michael West who hit the ball into the top corner from 30 yards.
The Hawks went ahead early in the second period as Abdulla ran on to Dan Harding’s ball through before slotting past Lewis Watch.
However, Gosport drew level before the hour mark when Wright played in Warren Bentley who fired beyond the advancing Ross Flitney.
In Payne and Strevens’ first league game in charge of the Hawks, they regained their lead just after the hour when Strevens found Southam on the edge of the area, and he drilled the ball low into the bottom corner.
And the hosts went 4-2 up when Paul Reid headed home, with Watch injured in the aftermouth. Defender Brett Poate took the gloves for Borough, and he was soon called in action but saved well from Danny Mills.
However, the score was soon 4-3 when Wright curled into the top corner from 20 yards, before Strevens missed the chance to regain the hosts’ two-goal lead when he saw his effort from the penalty spot saved by centre-back Poate low to his right.
Southam was then sent off for a second yellow card for the hosts, before they were left to rue the penalty miss as Flood took advantage of a defensive mix-up and give the visitors a point.
Payne concluded: “I thought we did really well up until just after the hour.
“We have a small squad, and we tried to rotate the side to give people a rest. At 4-2 up we should be able to see the game out.
“I’m not here to win games 8-4, I want to win games 1-0, 2-0, and I want to see that changed.
Pictures by David Pillman.
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