Franklyn hat-trick sends US Portsmouth into seventh heaven and back to the top of the Wessex League Division 1 table
James Franklyn struck his second hat-trick of the season as US Portsmouth jumped back to the top of the Wessex League second tier with a 7-0 caning of New Milton.
In the only game to survive the wet weather in their division, the club’s midfield playmaker took his seasonal tally to 18 - 16 of which have come in just 16 league matches.
That is a massive improvement on last season’s final Wessex tally of six in 26 appearances.
But Franklyn’s increased goal tally is just one reason why USP could be celebrating a first ever promotion to the Wessex top flight next spring.
Boss Glenn Turnbull admitted he has only had to make small changes here and there as he bids to improve on last season’s fifth place.
He believes the top four clubs in Wessex 1 will win promotion this term. And even though his men are top having played half their 36 league games, he also knows the division is very tight.
US are just five points clear of sixth placed Bemerton, so no-one at the Victory Stadium is getting carried away just yet.
‘You can throw your hat over any of the top seven teams really,’ he said.
‘So far we have given ourselves a great chance of achieving what we want to achieve.
‘I took over a squad that had finished fifth, so there was no need for massive changes.
‘We’ve made small ones instead - we’ve brought in a professional physio, Stefan Stefan, who works at the hospital and has been phenomenal.
‘We’ve brought in Paul Barton on the coaching side, he was once a coach at the Pompey Academy.
‘We’ve given the players a (fitness) programme to follow over the Christmas period for the first time.
‘I’ve tried to introduce a bit more clarity. From the very first day of pre season we’ve tried to play the same way and we train the same way - so hopefully everyone knows their jobs.’
Franklyn’s first hat-trick of 2019/20 against Bemerton back in late October took USP to the top of the Wessex table.
His second saw them leap back above Alton into pole position.
After setting up Moneyfields loanee George Root to open the scoring, Franklyn opened his account by breaking the offside trap, lifting the ball over keeper Luke Dennison and firing into an empty net.
Dennison was sent off before half-time for bringing down Dec Seiden, who picked himself up converted the resultant penalty before netting his second shortly after.
Cameron Quirke set up Franklyn to make it 5-0 in the second half before the latter again provided the assist for Root’s second of the afternoon.
Franklyn completed USP’s biggest home win since 2014 - US hammered Andover New Street 9-0 in April of that year - when he beat a number of defenders before scoring.
‘It was very pleasing,’ said Turnbull. ‘Without sounding conceited, we could easily have had double figures.
‘Well done to BAE who own the pitch. They’ve done some work on it recently and it was in great condition - we checked it a few times in the days leading up to the game and there was never any standing water on it.’