Matt Paterson struck the first senior hat-trick of his career as Gosport Borough cruised into the FA Cup third qualifying round with a 7-0 replay drubbing of Larkhall Athletic.
Borough should have gone through at the first time of asking on Saturday – against a club who ply their trade two divisions below – when they threw away a 2-0 lead to be dragged back for a 3-3 draw.
But there were no such mistakes this time around as Alex Pike’s side produced a ruthless destruction to book a visit to Maidenhead United on Saturday week.
Borough, whose ears were probably still ringing from Pike’s post-match tirade at the weekend, made the perfect start when they grabbed the lead inside eight minutes thanks to a smart finish from Steve Ramsey.
The former Hawks man produced a good first touch and a sharp turn, before finding the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the box.
Larkhall might have grabbed an equaliser soon afterwards but keeper Nathan Ashmore was alert to tip over Tyler Sibbick’s towering header at the far post.
The Bath-based outfit certainly had their moments as the half progressed – and they thought they had drawn level before the assistant’s offside flag ruled it out.
But it was Borough who finished the half the stronger as Sam Pearce rattled the crossbar with a header, before former Southampton striker Paterson drilled home an angled strike to make it 2-0 just before the half-time break.
Pike made his intentions clear at the break as Gosport came back out determined to pick up from where they left off.
A blistering spell then put the game to bed as Justin Bennett slid in to convert Rory Williams’ low cross five minutes after the restart to open the floodgates.
Paterson lashed home his second after Bennett’s knock-down at the far post from another searching Williams cross, and he should have had his hat-trick soon afterwards, firing wide after a calamitous defensive error presented him with a clear sight of goal.
Dan Wooden cracked home a beauty that flew into the far corner to make it 5-0 on the hour mark, and Ramsey netted a fortuitous second moments later as he charged down the goalkeeper’s clearance and saw the ball dribble over the line.
It was fitting, however, that the impressive Paterson grabbed the final goal of the game, timing his run to perfection to slide home Wooden’s low centre.
Pike said: ‘My players are intelligent footballers and I told them that anyone is entitled to make a mistake.
‘But if they made the same mistake, they would be idiots.
‘Thankfully, we learnt the lessons. We controlled the game and scored some excellent goals.
‘We looked bright, we kept the ball well and I was delighted with the performance.
‘I was really pleased for Pato. It was not only his goals but it’s his work-rate. He is a real handful for defenders when he is in that kind of mood.’
GOSPORT BOROUGH: Ashmore, Forbes, Pearce, Matthews, Williams, Carter (Dunford, 54), Smith, Ramsey (Wilde, 62), Wooden, Bennett (Wort, 54), Paterson. Unused subs: Shaw, Gerring, Woodward, Saez