Fleet ended their run of home games with a long-awaited three points and got back to winning ways after two first-half goals settled any nerves and ultimately provided the platform for a comfortable victory.
Nathan Ashmore was between the posts for his debut against his former club while Bryan van den Bogaert was back in defence, the suspended Matt Fish making way. New signing Sam Deering had to settle for a place on the bench.
Both sides looked eager from the kick-off but it took 10 minutes for Fleet to get a sniff at goal, Matt Godden rising to a Stuart Lewis corner. It was Godden’s last action as straight away he held his hamstring and signalled to the bench and Deering was deployed in his place.
And five minutes later Fleet were ahead. An attack fed the ball into Stuart Lewis but the Fleet midfielder was running away from goal when he was grounded by Boro skipper Sam Pearce. Danny Kedwell stepped up and blasted his usual standard of spot-kick, Gosport goalkeeper George Legg going the wrong way.
It was 2-0 eight minutes later with a measure of good fortune for the Fleet. A passing build-up saw Kissock loose off a shot from the edge of the box but it appeared to be heading off target before taking a deflection off a Gosport body that dropped the wrong side of goalkeeper Legg.
That goal heralded a period where Fleet raised their game and passed it across midfield with confidence, Deering showing plenty of ambition wide on the right with Joe Howe and van den Bogaert behind him patrolling the full length of either flank. Debutant Ashmore wasn’t overly busy but he showed glimpses of his quality with a decent stop from the impressive George Barker although almost blotted his copybook when clearing a ball against Rory Williams, which looped alarmingly towards the upright but thankfully wasn’t on target.
Aaron McLean was clean through from a Deering ball but a dubious offside flag brought play back before Ashmore was back in action, making himself big in the box to get a hand on a shot from a goalmouth scramble. With the Fleet midfield machine looking well-oiled, some wonderful passing football presented Lewis with an opportunity to deliver from the right and McLean was almost in from that but Pearce cleared at the very last moment.
And right on the stroke of half-time, McLean could have made it 3-0, a ball from Kedwell’s range-of-passing locker opening the Gosport defence. McLean ran through and did well to hold off the challenge of the defender who pushed him wide but his shot bent past Legg and the foot of the post.
After a confident first-half showing, Fleet were less mobile in the second as Gosport went in search of a route back into the game. The visitors had looked threatening on the attack in the first half and though they enjoyed greater possession in the second half, they rarely caused the Fleet defence to buckle. Anthony Acheampong, who had made a vital stop in the first half, executed an even better challenge midway through the second while even Kedwell was popping up in the full-back position to clear out of the box.
Ashmore made another fine stop from Barker on the hour mark but the game got increasingly scrappy, which probably helped the Fleet as Gosport couldn’t find much fluency to feed their front line. The home side left it late to take the game back to Gosport and Kedwell thumped Kissock’s pass back into the path of Deering whose glanced header at close range was too faint to trouble the goal.
Late on, substitute Charlie Sheringham got on the end of Kedwell’s lob over the top and though he dinked the ball over the advancing Legg, it dropped the wrong side of the post.
It wasn’t a chance that Fleet were left to rue as Gosport’s passing grew more ragged and McMahon’s men were happy to see the game to its conclusion, maintaining the pre-existing points gap over Sutton and Maidstone, themselves both victorious this afternoon,
EUFC: Ashmore, Howe, van den Bogaert, Lewis, Acheampong, Bonner, Rance, Godden (Deering 11), Kedwell, McLean (Sheringham 87), Kissock. Subs not used: Clark, Miles, Parkes.
GBFC: Legg, Cuthbertson, Poate, Carter, Pearce, Woodford, Barker (Wilde 80), Harding, Williams, Bennett, Wooden (Jerrard 84). Subs not used: Ryan, Brice, May.