GOSPORT BOROUGH’s squad strength was highlighted as they smashed Yate Town 4-1 at Privett Park.
Alex Pike had to make several late changes to his side.
But that was no hindrance in the end, as Borough stormed to victory with two goals from Justin Bennett and strikes from Steve Claridge and Adam Wilde.
Both Aaron Cook and Brett Poate failed late fitness tests and Adam Camfield was absent because of work commitments.
But defenders Gavin Jones and man-of-the-match Dan Woodward were magnificent to hold Yate at bay.
‘Late team changes are almost always inevitable at our level because of work commitments, suspension and players not passing fitness tests,’ said Pike.
‘But because we are able to haul in young players who have advanced through our reserve side this season, the end result is that they take the opportunity to show they can step up and do well.
‘It is very rewarding from a club point of view as it gives me further options in the future.
‘Taking three points from a side that have beaten almost all of the top clubs in the league this season is important.’
Yate’s busy strike force of David Stone, Edd Vahid and Tom Knighton were given little chance to impress.
Knighton, though, did manage to quickly cancel out Bennett’s 10-minute opener and make the scores 1-1.
Veteran Claridge showed his class on 22 minutes, turning the ball in from close range.
Young midfielder George Way, the creator of Claridge’s goal with a cross that ripped a gaping hole in the heart of the Yate defence, was tormenting the visitors.
He also teed up Bennett, who beat his marker to blast Borough into a 3-1 interval lead.
Yate missed a chance to hit back from the penalty spot.
Gosport keeper Nathan Ashmore flung himself along the line, to turn Adie Adams well-struck spot-kick behind.
And Borough finished the job off on 80 minutes.
Bennett’s was chopped down, just inside the Yate area, and Wilde sent his penalty scorching into the corner of the net.
Pike added: ‘I credit my side for keeping the club on track for promotion.
‘Until it’s mathematically impossible to win the title, we won’t be satisfied with a play-off slot.
‘The lads deserved to win the match by getting stuck in where it hurts and showing what we are all about as a club with ambition.’