A converted try, in the closing minutes of the match, scored by captain Terry Read ensured Charlton gained a draw in a match where they had trailed since kick off.
With both sides missing early opportunities to open the scoring it was Gosport who established an early lead with two successful penalties before midway through the half when they scored a converted try to provide them with a buffer.
Despite Charlton’s efforts to apply pressure, mistakes cost them as passes went astray or they were turned over by the efficient Gosport back row. It was a series of missed tackles that cost Charlton dearly as they were unable to contain a flowing move by Gosport that saw them move the ball away from a lineout, and break through to score a try under the posts to assist with the subsequent conversion.
To compound Charlton’s woes as they struggled to contain Gosport’s direct play, they gave away a series of penalties and were reduced to thirteen players at one time when, in their efforts to defend, they had had two men sin-binned. Holding a numerical advantage Gosport pressed but to Charlton’s credit, and despite the deficiency in players, they raised their defensive effort to nullify the threat.
With their confidence boosted, Charlton began to play to their own game plan and they began to establish continuity in their play, with several robust plays taking them into the Gosport half of the pitch. It was following a scrum, late in the first half, that a pick up from the base and drive from Rob Saunderson saw a handling move by Charlton lead to their first try scored by Connor MacDonald, making his first appearance for the first team after completion of his studies
With rising confidence, the second half started in the best possible way as Charlton’s chasing at the kick off led to them scoring when Gosport’s failure to control the ball resulted in them giving away a kickable penalty which Thor Normann kicked, so reducing the deficit. Having just broken back Charlton immediately conceded a penalty from the restart and following a kick for position, a well-executed handling move saw Gosport score their second converted try further extending their lead..
Facing a third consecutive defeat in the league, allied to the coaches’ half time comments, seemed to give Charlton an element of focus and they began to make inroads into the Gosport half putting together good phases of play and forcing Gosport to play in their own half of the pitch. The increased Charlton possession proved to be beneficial and a second Normann penalty, following a break from Read, settled their nerves.
A third try from Gosport, halfway through the half, seemed to have settled the result of the match in their favour but Charlton continued to press and drives from Read and Mark Harlow-Singh caused problems for the home side. It was following a break up field by Harlow-Singh, his off-load of the ball out the tackle was taken by Mark English, who was on hand to score Charlton’s second try and Normann added the conversion to cause worries for Gosport who tried to close the match out..
Sensing they were still in the match, and a positive result for them was still possible, Charlton increased their efforts and, following a lineout and strong driving play, Read powered his way over in the closing minutes to score the try and with Normann’s fourth successful kick of the game Charlton secured the draw to gain them two invaluable points in the League.
In the last league match of the year Charlton entertain near neighbours Sidcup at Broadwalk 20th December with kick off at 2.15pm