At least the weather was glorious for the visit to Privett Park. The outlook for events on the pitch however was far from sunny as Taunton were dispatched with ease by Gosport and if it wasn’t for a series of fine saves by Simon Cooper and some slapdash finishing from the opposition, it could have been much worse.
Three changes were made to the starting line-up from the Hamworthy humiliation including a debut for new loan signing Ben Swallow from Bristol Rovers but this had little effect on the performance.
Town struggled from the off with Simon Cooper called into early action saving smartly from Justin Bennett. Cooper then blocked Bennett’s effort on 12 minutes but the ball was not cleared and James Ford smacked it home for the opener.
Taunton barely had time to draw breath before they found themselves two goals down. Mike McEnery broke away down the right flank and his cross found Bennett who tucked it away unmarked on the far post.
Town nearly clawed one back shortly after but Jamie Price’s shot from the right side of the area hit the post. That was as good as it got for the visitors in the first 45 with Charlie Welch’s overhead kick from Ali Pounde’s cross the only other chance of note.
Gosport on the other hand created numerous openings with McEnery shooting just wide and Bennett beating the offside trap but Cooper coming to Taunton’s rescue, then Bennett again scuffing wide from a Gavin Jones cross.
The pressure thankfully eased after the interval and Town were managing to hold their own. But after Lee Bridson scythed down Bennett, it was effectively game over on 59 minutes as the Gosport striker converted the spot kick.
Taunton won their first corner after 68 minutes, shortly after making a double substitution , and a modicum of respectability was restored a minute later when Matt Rawlins laid the ball off to Pounde just inside the box and his finish bobbled over Nick Hutchings into the net.
Gosport made hard work of it in the latter stages but closed out the game with a fourth goal two minutes from time when Nathan Lynch nodded in a cross from Jones, completing another bad day at the office for Town.
By Andy Power
Gosport: Nick Hutchings, Gavin Jones, David Birmingham, Joshua Jones (captain), Andrew Puckett, James Ford, David Waterman, Michael Birmingham, Michael McEnery (Nathan Lynch 69), Justin Bennett, Thomas McCormick (Andrew Culliford 69). Unused subs: Robert Tambling, Lee Chudy, Daniel Sturman
Taunton: Simon Cooper, Dave Anthony (James Ansell 64), Charlie Welch, Jamie Price (captain), Lee Bridson, Scott Thomas, Ben Swallow, Ben Newby, Alex Pounde, Shaun Anthony (Matt Rawlins 64), Sam Jones. Unused subs: Danny Lane, Stuart Nelson, Ian Jones
Referee: Peter Lavelle (Totton)
Linesmen: Andrew Dine (Fareham), Daniel Berry (Fareham)