Gosport Borough: Hat-trick hero Justin Bennett pulls plug on Bath

Justin Bennett. Picture Ian Hargreaves (151409-8)
Justin Bennett. Picture Ian Hargreaves (151409-8)
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Justin Bennett was the hat-trick hero as Gosport Borough inflicted a first National League South defeat on Bath City with a 3-1 win at Privett Park.

Borough’s record goalscorer gave his side the lead midway through the first half before putting them in command after the break.

And after the visitors had threatened a comeback by reducing the deficit, Bennett popped up to finish them off late on.

But while Borough boss Alex Pike was quick to praise his striker’s natural ability in front of goal, he also hailed another fine team performance by his fourth-placed outfit.

Pike said: ‘It’s great for Justin to get his hat-trick but it was a great team performance and it’s important we stay and play as a unit.

‘We all take the praise and he’s the focal point up front. He works hard and he scores goals.

‘He’s probably the most natural goal scorer I’ve seen at this level and long may that continue.

‘We must not forget Bath came here undefeated and we’ve taken that away from them.

‘I’m disappointed at the goal – a clean sheet would have been great.’

Pike made one change to the team that lost to Sutton on Saturday.

He handed a start to Lee Wort in place of Elliot Wheeler, who was named among the substitutes.

Bath arrived at Privett Park undefeated in the league – with six wins from their opening nine fixtures.

Borough, meanwhile, were hoping to bounce back from their first defeat.

And they began well, dominating the early exchanges.

But with just eight minutes on the clock, George Barker had to be taken off with a hamstring injury. He was replaced by Perry Ryan.

Bennett then took the bull by the horns – running down the left wing and taking a shot that went wide.

With 27 minutes gone, the striker was at it again but this time, after receiving the ball inside the box, he smashed it past keeper Steve Phillips and gave Borough the lead.

It was all Borough and they were unlucky not to be further in front at the break.

They came closest to a second when Wort teed up Dan Wooden, who took one touch and hit the ball narrowly over the crossbar.

The hosts ploughed on after the break – their high-tempo game once more seeing them dominate.

Great play from Tom Dunford and TJ Cuthbertson just outside the box, almost found Wort in sight of goal.

The striker then fired a quick-fire shot just over the crossbar.

Borough continued their assault on Phillips’ goal and on 71 minutes Bennett worked his magic again – slotting the ball into the bottom right-hand corner to put Borough 2-0 up.

Bath started to rally and hit back through Ash Kington on 80 minutes.

Kevin Nicholson then drilled a ball past Borough keeper Nathan Ashmore only to have it disallowed for offside.

With tensions running high following the announcement of five minutes of stoppage-time, Frankie Artus was booked for a foul on Bennett.

But the Gosport striker had the final word – picking up a great pass from Mike Carter to net his third goal and make certain of the points.

GOSPORT BOROUGH: Ashmore, Cuthbertson, Williams, Carter, Poate, Woodford, Dunford, Barker, Wort, Bennett, Wooden. Subs: White, Ramsey, Ryan, Wheeler, Wilde