Jason Parish hits hat-trick against old side Baffins Milton Rovers to fire AFC Portchester to derby victory
A Jason Parish hat-trick gave AFC Portchester a thrilling 3-2 Wessex Premier derby win against Baffins Milton Rovers at the Crest Finance Stadium.
Parish, who has struggled recently, rediscovered his goalscoring touch against his old team-mates.
The Royals manager Mick Catlin felt the timing of his striker's treble could not have been better.
‘Jason joined us in October and scored on his debut,’ said Catlin.
‘He only scored one more after that and has struggled to find the net since.
‘It is pleasing to finally see him get the reward for his hard work.
‘Before this, he had taken a bit of stick from his previous team-mates saying he was a waste of money.
‘He showed his full value with three very important goals.’
In an entertaining affair, Parish, who netted for Baffins against Portchester in the league last season, put the Royals in front with a near post header.
The home side looked comfortable until they conceded two goals in a mad five minutes just before the break.
First, Ashton Leigh picked out Tommy Tierney who fired in through a crowded goalmouth.
Then, Tommy Scutt finished off another Baffin's break with a shot into the far corner.
‘They could have had another one which would have killed us off,’ said Catlin.
‘We reorganised a bit at half time and demanded a reaction.
‘After the break, we started to take the game to them and once we equalised looked the more likely to win.’
Parish levelled before grabbing the winning goal with a burst down the right and a shot that went in off the far post.
In the home ranks, Jordan Rose made a creditable debut after arriving on loan from Blackfield & Langley.
Joe Noakes also made his first league start after two years out through injury.
But Baffins boss Steve Leigh was hugely disappointed.
‘I thought we deserved at least a point from the game and edged the first half to go in with a slender lead,’ he said.
‘We started the second period okay, but as the game went on we dropped our levels and lost our composure a little.
‘In the end, we started hitting long balls instead of playing through the opposition like we had in the opening half.’
The win enabled the Royal's to climb back up to fourth in the league.
They sit 10 behind leaders Alresford Town, who were beaten at home by Fareham Town.