‘Brilliant’ start sees US Portsmouth stay top of Wessex Division 1 on goal difference
US Portsmouth produced a stellar start en route to the win which kept them top of Wessex Division 1 on goal difference.
Glenn Turnbull’s men romped into a 5-0 lead after just 22 minutes at Romsey before taking their foot off the gas to eventually win 5-1.
There was a good reason for that - to preserve energy levels as US are back in action on Monday night at home to Petersfield Town.
Andrew Todd began the goal rush on four minutes after collecting a pass from Dec Seiden before Tom Jeffes finished off a well-worked corner routine.
Harry Birmingham’s pass set up James Franklyn for a shot which the keeper could only parry straight to Todd to snaffle his second on 15 minutes.
Franklyn struck a fourth two minutes later - his 20th goal of the campaign in all competitions - following good work from Josh Hazell.
On 22 minutes it was 5-0 when Jordan Pile’s defence-splitting pass allowed Seiden to net his 13th of the term.
‘We were brilliant at the start,’ purred Turnbull. ‘We asked the lads for a quick start and, boy, did we get one!’
US could even afford to miss a late penalty - Scott failing to take his hat-trick opportunity when his spot-kick was saved.
Turnbull is expecting a tough encounter tonight, even though Petersfield have lost three of their last four league games including a poor 1-0 loss at lowly East Cowes at the weekend.
In all, they have only won once in their last seven league outings - and that was against cellar dwellers Folland Sports.
US triumphed 3-1 at Love Lane just after Christmas, but needed to come from behind to do so.
‘I know Petersfield felt aggrieved at the result,’ said Turnbull. ‘They felt we got the rub of the green, so I know they will be coming out strong.
‘But apart from Tom Cain, who serves the last of his three-game suspension, we’re at full strength. Everyone wants to play at the moment.
‘Some of them were unhappy at being left out at the weekend, but I see that as a positive. Romsey had just on sub while we had five and three more players standing on the sidelines watching.
The Petersfield game is being played on a Monday because the Victory Stadium is being used for a Navy game on Wednesday – and ground rules say US cannot play on it 24 hours either side of a services match.
Turnbull’s troops are searching for their fourth straight Wessex win against their Hampshire rivals. Last season they trounced the Rams 6-2 at the Victory Stadium and 3-0 away.
Michael Dark netted in both of those games prior to moving to Hythe & Dibden.
Dark grabbed his 16th goal of this season at the weekend as the Watersiders remained level on points with USP thanks to an 8-2 trouncing of Andover Town.
Owen Fee - who recently joined Hythe from AFC Portchester - led the spree with a hat-trick, his first goals for the club.
On a goal-laden day in Division 1, Andover New Street rattled off their 11th straight win - a 4-2 home victory over Laverstock.
Nine of those successes have come in the league, and next up for New Street is a home tie with Moneyfields in the quarter finals of the Hampshire Senior Cup on Tuesday.