Bennett’s treble will serve as a warning shot to Gosport’s rivals

Justin Bennett hit a superb hat-trick on Tuesday
Justin Bennett hit a superb hat-trick on Tuesday
Matt Tubbs: Picture: Habibur Rahman

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JUSTIN BENNETT’s back in the goals and that means one thing for Gosport Borough’s Vanarama National League South rivals – trouble.

The striker responded to his penalty woe in the 1-0 defeat to Sutton with a clinical three-goal blast to sink Bath City at Privett Park on Tuesday.

It was Bennett at his brilliant best and Gosport will be looking for more of the same when they host Margate in the league tomorrow (3pm).

In the narrow loss to Sutton last Saturday, Borough were awarded two penalties.

Bennett missed the first one and his anguish was compounded when he decided to hand the responsibility over to Jamie White, who then also missed from the spot.

But Gosport’s all-time top goalscorer showed exactly why he is rated by his manager Alex Pike as the best natural finisher at this level with a perfect response.

Justin missed a penalty on Saturday and then hit back with a hat-trick. You can’t do much more than that

Mick Catlin

His three excellent goals crushed previously undefeated Bath 3-1 and put Gosport fourth in the table.

Margate are now faced with the daunting task of trying to stop a confident Bennett doing more damage.

Borough assistant manager Mick Catlin is expecting plenty more goals to flow for the striker in the upcoming matches.

He said: ‘Justin missed a penalty on Saturday and then hit back with a hat-trick. You can’t do much more than that.

‘He had been on a bit of a run without any goals and he was as low as he could be after he missed the penalty.

‘We got the second one and he didn’t want to take it, so Jamie White took it and he also missed.

‘Justin felt a bit guilty about that and was probably more despondent about not taking the second one than he was about missing the first one.

‘On Tuesday he couldn’t have wished for a better response. It was his second hat-trick of the season.

‘Justin is the type of player that when he starts scoring he goes on a real run of form.

‘He can go a couple of games without scoring goals but if you stick with him, and persevere, you know he will get 20-plus goals for the season.’

Catlin felt the team performance in the win against Bath was Gosport’s most complete display of the season.

They showed their first loss of the season in the league to Sutton was not going to knock them out of their stride.

‘I think for the first time this season we played well for 90 minutes,’ added Catlin.

‘We played really well. We’ve set the standard now and we have got to maintain it.

‘Margate had a good win on Tuesday and they will be confident but we are at home and it is a game we need to be getting three points from.’

Gosport centre-back Sam Pearce is close to making a return to the squad after recovering from injury.

Ben Harding is still out injured, while George Barker is doubtful after going off on Tuesday night with a hamstring injury.

Perry Ryan is pushing for a start after he came on for Barker and played well against Bath.