His scrappy goal after just ten minutes was enough to seal the win for the Clarets, their first win in five games.
Michael Cheek wasted two clear-cut chances to make for a more comfortable result before Justin Bennett was denied by the leg of Tom Lovelock when he raced through one-on-one.
Lovelock could do nothing when Brett Poate headed home with seven minutes to spare, but the ‘Boro centre-back was denied by the offside flag.
That result meant it was back-to-back defeats for the hosts, who ended up with ten men following Rory Williams' late challenge, and they need to pick up a win on Monday night at Wealdstone if they are to keep their play-off hopes alive.
The Clarets have experienced a tough run of results on the road this season having only picked up one away win in 2015 – a 2-0 win over Ebbsfleet United on New Year’s Day.
And Gosport, who possess the meanest defence in the Vanarama Conference South with just 31 goals conceded all season prior to this encounter, made it clear early on that they were looking to inflict a fourth defeat in five games on the visitors after forging an opening within the first minute.
Rob Girdlestone was caught out by a neat ball over the top from Mike Carter, giving Matt Paterson an early opening. The attack came to nothing as the City defence recovered although it was far from the perfect start.
But surprisingly it was the Clarets who took the lead after just ten minutes with a goal coming against the run of play. Joe Ward picked the ball up from Jack Bridge before aiming a cross towards the far post. Mason Spence peeled away from his man and tapped home from close range to net his first goal for the club and, even though it was a scrappy finish, it was exactly what City needed.
Composure soon became evident among the City players as they settled into the game, restricting Gosport to limited chances. Bridge almost doubled the visitor’s lead when he was slid through by Michael Cheek, but he was denied by a low save by the imposing figure of Nathan Ashmore.
‘Boro boss Alex Pike looked a distressed figure on the touchline as his side appeared to fall apart every time the Clarets broke forward with the pace of Ward and Bridge evidently causing a wealth of problems.
Chances for Andy Robinson and Justin Bennett, which admittedly caused Tom Lovelock few problems, did serve as a timely reminder for the visitors that the three points were not theirs just yet.
The Hampshire outfit suffered a narrow 1-0 loss at the hands of Eastbourne Borough last time out that ended a four match winning streak. It was the tempo at which Mark Hawkes’ side were playing that allowed them to control the game and force the ‘Boro into a number of errors.
Credit to both Marvin Ekpiteta and vice-captain Mark Haines who both put in an excellent first-half performance, committing themselves to a number of successful tackles and clearances.
Gosport pushed for a leveller in the dying embers of the first-half and came mightily close through Justin Bennett. The striker pounced on a loose ball and lifted a neat shot over the on-rushing Lovelock. It looked destined for the net but curled away at the final moment as City’s lead remained intact.
The hosts were sent out early for the second-half with Pike clearly aggrieved by the first have performance and, as the race for that final play-off spot steps up a gear going into the final stretch of games, it is understandable that he wasn’t best pleased from their display.
The question was whether Chelmsford could sustain their high-intensity performance that was recognised from all quarters in Privett Park. Early suggestions in the second-half looked like they could with Joe Ward looking to attack ‘Boro’s winger-turned-full-back Paco Saez at any given opportunity.
Saez was on hand to clear a promising attack as Cheek’s cross trickled along the face of goal before the hosts had a penalty appeal turned down.
Matt Paterson swivelled inside the area before directing a powerful shot towards goal which Mark Haines blocked with his chest. It was certainly a hopeful protest but, in doing so, they momentarily switched off at the back as Cheek spurned a great chance.
Some tidy work by Lee Sawyer, returning to the starting line-up following suspension, resulted in a drilled cross that the frontman ballooned over from close-range.
And Cheek had another chance on the hour when his exchange with Bridge in the area created a superb chance on goal. The striker placed the ball over Nathan Ashmore but, unfortunately for City, over the bar too from around ten yards out.
Gosport then enjoyed a good spell of possession after the introduction of the experienced Adam Wilde which eventually finished with Dan Wooden driving forward and pulling a good save from Lovelock.
Lovelock was then called upon soon after when Justin Bennett was put clean through on goal. Finding himself one-on-one with the City shot stopper the league’s top-scorer with 23 goals would have fancied his chances, but he was denied by Lovelock’s trailing leg as the lead remained with Chelmsford.
Tempers began to flair from both sides as the half wore on as a number of crunching tackles were bandied about. The game was in no way violent however but, due to the competitive nature of the teams involved, it was perhaps understandable.
Brett Poate, who was booked for a late challenge on Lovelock, thought he’d equalised when he rose highest to nod home, only to be denied by the offside flag.
Gosport put four up front in a bid to steal a late point and it almost proved decisive as Benett’s shot was tipped away by Lovelock with two minutes left. They were then dealt a hammer blow when Rory Williams was shown a second yellow for a late foul on Cheek.
The Clarets exploited the space that was inevitably created and it was just enough for the visitors to take the three points back to Essex as Gosport, whose unbeaten home run which extends to September, rued their missed opportunity as Lee Wort blazed over with minutes remaining.
1. Nathan Ashmore
2. Paco Saez
3. Rory Williams
4. Michael Carter
5. Brett Poate
6. Sam Pearce (C)
7. Thomas Dunford
8. Andy Robinson
9. Matthew Patterson
10. Justin Bennett
11. Daniel Wooden
12. Danny Smith
14. Lee Wort (On for Matthew Paterson, 71)
15. Andy Forbes (On for Paco Saez, 83)
16. Steve Ramsey
17. Adam Wilde (On for Thomas Dunford, 64)
1. Tom Lovelock
2. Rob Girdlestone
3. Michael Toner
4. Leon Redwood
5. Mark Haines
6. Marvin Ekpiteta
7. Lee Sawyer
8. Joe Ward
9. Jack Bridge
10. Michael Cheek
11. Mason Spence
12. Evans Kouassi (On for Mason Spence, 74)
14. Rohdell Gordon (On for Joe Ward, 90+2)
15. Kabongo Tshimanga
16. Harry Morgan (On for Jack Bridge, 86)
19. Niklas Freund (GK)
Referee: Mr Paul Kelly (Chatham)
Assistant referees: Mr Jonathan Creswick (West Byfleet) and Mr Gregory Read (Addlestone)
Bookings: Gosport Borough: Rory Williams (74, foul and 90+3, foul), Brett Poate (77, foul)
Chelmsford City: Leon Redwood (68, foul), Michael Toner (80, foul)
Sent off: Gosport Borough: Rory Williams (90+3, two bookings)
Chelmsford City: None
Scorers: Gosport Borough: None
Chelmsford City: Mason Spence (10)
City Man of the Match: Marvin Ekpiteta