Prolific Zak Willett hits hat-trick to set up Paulsgrove’s mouth-watering Hampshire Premier League cup semi-final with Bush Hill

Prolific Zak Willett scored a hat-trick and missed a penalty as Paulsgrove set up a mouth-watering L4 Teamwear Challenge Cup semi-final with fellow Hampshire Premier League big-hitters Bush Hill.

Monday, 17th May 2021, 12:45 pm
Zac Willett beats the Liphook keeper to head in the second of his three goals. Picture: Sam Stephenson

Grove had to battle back from behind before running out 3-1 home quarter-final winners over Liphook United.

Willett was the start of the show for Wayne Grant’s men as he took his Grove tally for the season to 23 in just 13 matches,

A day later, he struck his 46th and 47th goals of the season for City of Portsmouth Sunday League side Southsea United - on only his 20th outing of the campaign.

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Zac Willett watches his second goal go in against Liphook. Picture: Sam Stephenson

That means the Horndean-bound striker has bagged a truly remarkable 70 goals in just 33 appearances in 2020/21.

Grove had been given an early shock against Liphook when Josh Marshall slotted home from the spot after defender Joe Dorsett had been penalised for a foul.

Willett levelled before the break, converting a penalty, and struck again after the restart.

He then missed his second penalty of the afternoon but rounded off his treble soon after to put him one clear of Lane as the club's leading scorer this term.

Zac Willett scores a penalty - the first of his Paulsgrove hat-trick against Liphook. Picture: Sam Stephenson

It was his third Grove hat-trick of the season and his second at home to Liphook – he had previously struck four times in a 7-2 Senior Division romp last October.

‘I know the scoreline was 3-1 but we were very comfortable,’ admitted Grant as Grove ended 2020/21 with a 100 per cent home league and cup record, having won all 11 games at Marsden Road and scoring 44 goals in the process.

Grant is now relishing the trip to Southampton to face Bush Hill, who inflicted a first competitive defeat of the season on Moneyfields Reserves - winning 3-0 at Test Park.

The Grove boss said: 'Other than Infinity, it’s the biggest game in the Hampshire League, really.

Zak Willett celebrates scoring a penalty. Picture: Sam Stephenson

‘The best two sides playing each other in the semi-final, especially as Infinity have gone out as well.

‘No-one is in top form, as such; you’re playing every week at the moment but it’s not a league structure.

‘Everyone left in it now wants to win it but our mindset won’t change, we’ll go with the lads who are available and get people playing.'

The winners of the Bush v Paulsgrove tie will face Locks Heath or Silchester at Westleigh Park in the final on Saturday, May 29.

Paulsgrove v Liphook action. Picture: Sam Stephenson