Borough striker does the trick again

Justin Bennett scored a hat-trick for Borough. Picture: Dave Haines
Justin Bennett scored a hat-trick for Borough. Picture: Dave Haines
Wes Fogden in action for the Hawks. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

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Justin Bennett served up another goalscoring masterclass for Gosport Borough as Ashley Harris closed in on a move to Privett Park.

Borough’s all-time leading scorer grabbed his second hat-trick of the season, while partner-in-crime Matt Paterson completed a 4-0 rout of Hemel Hempstead in the Vanarama Conference South.

Bennett, who was sent on loan to Poole Town last season after a barren spell in front of goal, is brimming with confidence and took his tally to 12 in all competitions for the campaign.

He opened the scoring in the first half as he headed home unmarked at a corner and then slotted in a second after a terrific diagonal pass from Dan Wooden early in the second period.

Paterson, who scored a hat-trick in the 7-0 FA Cup win over Larkhall, made no mistake when Bennett teed him up as he netted his eighth of the season to make it 3-0.

And Bennett slotted home for his hat-trick in the closing minutes after Adam Wilde picked out his run.

Bennett explained he has forged an instant understanding with former Southampton man, Paterson.

He said: ‘We are on the same wavelength but he is the best strike partner I have played alongside.

‘You look where he has come from and he has played league football.

‘We are developing a good understanding and the more we play together, that will get better.

‘Sometimes it just clicks with a player straight away.

‘There are times when I will leave it and you know he is there behind you.

‘There have been a few players over the years who I have played with and you just click.

‘There are others and it’s like chalk and cheese where you just can’t play together.’

Borough struggled for goals last season but it’s a different story this term and they also have Lee Wort – who was close to earning a deal with Accrington in the summer – also pressing for a chance.

There might soon be another striker pushing for selection as well with former Pompey man Harris watching the game and in talks with Borough boss Alex Pike about a deal.

Pike said: ‘He is a player I admire immensely.

‘It’s sad he is not attached to a club and I am more than willing to give him that opportunity.

‘I was interested in the summer but I never got the chance to speak to him.

‘He would fit into the blueprint of what we’re trying to do.

‘He is a quality player, he is hungry and probably wants to prove to a few people what he can do.’

Although Hemel enjoyed a lot of first-half possession, they didn’t have the cutting edge Borough had.

The Privett Park outfit looked solid at the back, while Danny Smith and Mike Carter bossed the midfield.

And Pike felt his men were worthy winners.

He said: ‘Possession doesn’t win you games, you’ve got to do something with it.

‘You need to be able to penetrate the opposition defence and defensively, we were superb.

‘We’ve scored four good goals and we always looked a threat. That’s 11 goals in two games and none conceded. I was delighted.’

GOSPORT: Ashmore, Forbes, Pearce, Matthews, Williams, Carter, Ramsey (Dunford, 61), Smith, Wooden (Wilde, 75), Bennett, Paterson (Wort, 75). Unused subs: Saez, Woodward.