Striker signs off in style at Borough

Justin Bennett. Picture: Keith Fuller (KF Photography)
Justin Bennett. Picture: Keith Fuller (KF Photography)
Ryan Pennery

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Justin Bennett showed Gosport Borough just what they will be missing next season.

The striker, playing his final game before leaving the Privett Park club, scored both goals in their 2-1 defeat of AFC Portchester in the Russell-Cotes Cup final.

The goals took Bennett’s tally to an impressive 263 in his nine years with Borough.

And the hitman, who is believed to be in talks with newly-promoted National League South outfit Poole Town, will be sorely missed.

Borough boss Alex Pike said: ‘He will be a big miss for us but as one door closes, another one opens.

‘Not only has he been a fantastic footballer but also a wonderful person and a great credit.

‘I for one will sadly miss him because he has become a good friend over the years.

‘It will be strange turning up for pre-season without him.

‘He showed again how deadly he can be.

‘All credit to Portchester, though, because it was a good competitive game.

‘It has been a horrid last two-and-a-half months for us, so it is nice to sign off with a win.

‘Despite all our problems, we still finished ninth in National League South and that is a great achievement.’

Ben Harding had the first attempt for Borough with a 20-yard volley that was easily gathered by Royals goalkeeper Lyall Beazley.

Adam Wilde and Bennett then both fired off target and Portchester striker Jason Parish sliced a shot well wide before Borough finally broke the deadlock on 22 minutes.

Dan Wooden slipped the ball through to Bennett in the area and he tucked it neatly away.

Bennett then extended Borough’s lead two minutes before the break – driving home following a corner.

The Royals got themselves back into the game on 49 minutes when Joe Bye lifted a superb ball over the top for Parish to run on to and score.

Within a minute Beazley produced a point-blank reaction save to deny Wooden.

Encouraged by their goal, the Royals pushed forward in search of an equaliser.

But Curt Robbins fired one shot over and was denied by a brave stop from Lewis Watch as Borough stood firm.

AFC Portchester: Beazley, Evans, Moody, Smart, Warren, Caine, Sweeney, Bye, Parish, Robbins, Everett. Subs: Froggatt, Walker, Castles, Dunn, Whittingham

Gosport Borough: Watch, Cuthbertson, Williams, Woodford, Poate, Pearce, Dunford, Harding, Wooden, Bennett, Wilde. Subs: Brice, Liss, Duffin, Goulding, May

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