Bennett eyeing goal on emotional Privett Park farewell
Justin Bennett is determined to sign off in trademark style as he bids an emotional farewell to Privett Park tomorrow.
Gosport Borough’s record goalscorer is targeting one more for his collection as the hosts end a roller coaster National League South campaign with the visit of Hayes & Yeading United (3pm).
The game marks Bennett’s last for Borough on home soil, with next Tuesday’s Russell-Cotes Cup final at AFC Portchester set to bring the curtain down on a goal-laden nine-year stay at the club.
The prolific non-league marksman has netted 260 times for Gosport but at the age of 33, is keen for a new challenge.
Tomorrow is a chance for Bennett to bow out in style.
He said: ‘I imagine it will be emotional.
‘When I get there and realise it’s going to be my last time playing at Privett Park after nine years it will be weird one.
‘I have unbelievable memories – play-off final wins, the Wembley FA Trophy appearance and getting to the first round of the FA Cup.
‘I have also made some really good friends over the nine years.
‘I have been known for scoring goals at Gosport so it would be nice to leave Privett with one more to my name!’
Borough head into their season finale in ninth place.
But for so long it appeared Alex Pike’s side would be involved in the end-of-season play-off fixtures.
Financial problems hit the club, though, with results taking a turn for the worse.
And Bennett admits the trials and tribulations experienced at Gosport this season were the key to his hard decision to leave.
‘It wasn’t a decision that was taken lightly,’ he said.
‘I discussed it with my wife over a number of weeks and also my dad and friends and family.
‘All of the trouble that went on this season impacted on my enjoyment of football.
‘I didn’t want to take the risk of that happening again.
‘I am trying to make sure my last few years left in football are spent enjoying it rather than the trials and tribulations we have had this season.’
Wantaway Bennett, who is still under contract at the club, will leave a hero in the eyes of supporters – a fact he is quick to acknowledge.
He added: ‘The fans have been unbelievable.
‘I have been lucky enough to get to know quite a lot of them and I have had nothing but support from them since I made the decision.
‘I will miss them – they have been brilliant to me.’