Alex Pike salutes Borough’s ‘unique talent’

Justin Bennett.  Picture: Keith Fuller (KF Photography)
Justin Bennett. Picture: Keith Fuller (KF Photography)
  • Justin Bennett nets 250th Gosport goal
  • Borough claim brilliant away win at Oxford
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Alex Pike paid tribute to Justin Bennett after the striker scored his 250th Gosport Borough goal in their 2-1 National League South win at Oxford City.

Bennett struck three minutes from the end to reach the remarkable milestone in his 386th appearance for the club.

Justin deserves all the plaudits because he is a unique talent at our level

Alex Pike

‘I have to wonder just how many times Justin has won us three points with a goal,’ said Pike.

‘He is a natural goalscorer with a remarkable knack of being in the right place at the right time. That is something you cannot teach.

‘He has never had blistering pace but can cleverly find space inside the area.

‘Justin deserves all the plaudits because he is a unique talent at our level.

‘I love watching him play and above all his ability to finish.

‘He is also not one of these players who shouts about their achievements from the rooftops.

‘The lad is modest, reserved and is highly respected throughout the game.’

The latest win moves Borough back up to sixth place and only one point adrift of the play-off positions.

Gosport fell behind after 10 minutes when Darren Pond knocked in a rebound after a shot was blocked.

But Borough, who have only been beaten once on their travels this season, again showed their resilience by hitting back quickly.

Within five minutes, Rowan Vine headed in an equaliser after the ball dropped down off the crossbar at the far post.

Both sides had chances and Borough felt they should have had a penalty when George Barker was felled by the Oxford goalkeeper inside the area.

To Pike’s disgust the officials waved play on and the home side escaped.

In the second half, the hosts raised the tempo but Brett Poate was immense at the back for the visitors. He cleared one effort off the line before, with the final whistle rapidly approaching, Bennett struck the killer blow.

The marksman found space in the City area and rifled his shot into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal.

‘It was a great result for us against one of the best footballing sides in our league,’ said Pike.

‘There were a number of great individual performances. Brett was solid as a rock at the back and George is a match-winner at this level.

‘Andy Robinson and Mike Carter were physical and creative in midfield.

‘We had quality right through the spine of the team and the win keeps our momentum going.

‘But beating the second in the league will mean nothing if we don’t win at (second-from-bottom) St Albans tomorrow night.

‘Our target is to be in or around the play-off places at Christmas and then take stock from there.’

Gosport Borough: Ashmore, Cuthbertson, Williams, Carter, Poate, Woodford, Dunford (May, 55min), Robinson, Vine (Wort, 77min), Bennett, Barker. Att: 349.