Goal ace Bennett's Wembley dream

Justin Bennett

Justin Bennett

First published in Sport Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Sports Reporter

Gosport Borough’s all-time top goal scorer Justin Bennett is sweating over his chances of selection for the FA Trophy final. The former Eastleigh and AFC Totton striker, who became the most prolific marksman in Boro’ history last weekend after two goals against Boreham Wood took his tally to 193, was recently recalled from Southern Premier Poole Town and is eager to start at Wembley against Cambridge United. The 31-year-old, who broke Richie Coulbert’s goals record that stood for over 20 years, said: “I want to play, but everyone wants to play. “It’s Pikey's (manager Alex Pike) tough choice, I’d be disappointed if I didn’t feature at some point but he’s the manager and he makes the decisions.

“I’ve been out on loan to Poole Town and got my confidence back. It’s easy playing in a team with confidence as well. “The lads have been doing brilliantly lately and I’ve benefited from that since I’ve been back.

“I went to Wembley as a fan to watch England recently and I’ve been to a gig there to see The Killers, which is the closest I’ve come to the pitch. “I never thought I’d get there as a player.”

Bennett has nine goals for Boro’ this season, the club’s second top scorer behind ex-Hamble star Rory Williams (11).

Many Boro’ fans were hoping that Bennett would break the club goals record at Wembley. But that was something he was keen to avoid.“In my mind, I thought if I get it out of the way before Wembley I can just go and enjoy the day without any added pressure, so it’s nice to have it done,” he said.

Like many at Privett Park, Bennett knows the Trophy run should not overshadow the club’s priority of staying in the Conference South. “To stay at this level for a club like Gosport is the most important thing,” he remarked.

“It’s been a good distraction for everyone but we’ve worked hard to get to this level and we don’t want to lose that. “This level is where we want to be.”

Bennett first joined Gosport on loan from Eastleigh in early 2007/08, making the move permanently in October.

In his first season at Borough he topped the Southern League Division 1 South & West goal table with 30 strikes.

After hitting 19 the following term, he was again the league’s golden boot in 2009/10 with 32 goals. Bennett struck 15 goals in 2010/11 before he was crowned the division’s top scorer for a third season with 34 goals in 2011/12, the year Gosport won promotion via the play-offs.

Earlier in his career, Bennett was a highly prolific scorer for Andover in the Wessex League.

In three successive seasons, starting in 2002/03, Bennett struck 52, 45 and 44 goals for the club in league and cup matches.

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