SHOLING’S 1-0 setback at Bournemouth Poppies on Tuesday spelled doubly good news for Sydenhams Premier leaders Alresford.
Not only did the Magpies ease six points clear at the summit, but Sholing’s first league blank of the season leaves Alresford’s Warren Bentley two goals ahead of the Boatmen’s Lee Wort in the chase for the Wessex golden boot.
Bentley added to his burgeoning tally on Tuesday, striking twice in the 4-0 home win over Fawley AFC.
Pondering the secret of the 23-year-old’s success, co-boss Danny Robinson said: “He’s just a great finisher and he scores all manner of goals, whether it’s a two-yard tap-in or receiving the ball over his shoulder and volleying it left-footed into the top corner as he did against Fareham.
“But Warren’s a very grounded lad and he’d be the first to say that it’s the people around him who get him his goals.
“He and Zach Glasspool complement each other very well and there are others in the team constantly working hard to win the ball back.
“If the golden boot does come Warren’s way he’d gleefully take it, but he just wants to play well for Alresford. And it’s not just about the goals he scores, it’s the chances he makes for other people too.”
With Sholing otherwise engaged in the FA Vase, Alresford can go nine points clear of their rivals tomorrow by beating Horndean at Arlebury Park.
They will have played six games more than the Boatmen but, with a huge backlog of fixtures to clear, Sholing could have their work cut out to reel in the Magpies who finished runners-up to Blackfield & Langley last term.
Alresford are indisputably the form side of the division, having won 13 league games on the spin.
Bentley has banged 48 league and cup goals, two more than Wort has scored.
“We’ve had Zach with us for two years and I don’t know if any club’s ever done that before,” said Robinson. “He must have played 20 games on the bounce now and he did really well at Hamworthy on a bit of an uneven surface. The finish for his first goal was outrageous.
“When you look around this league, every side has got a good centre forward and Dave’s (Diaper) got three at Sholing in Lee Wort, Ashley Jarvis and Alex Baldacchino.
“But, as a pairing, I haven’t seen too many better than Warren and Zach.
“But it’s the work ethic that makes us successful and the whole team contributes to what the lads do up top.”
Alresford’s winning league streak stretches back to early January. In fact their only blip this calendar year was the 2-0 Vase defeat at Hallen.
“We’d never even thought about the run we’re on until (skipper) Stuart Mott mentioned it in the changing room a week or so ago,” said Robinson.
“All we’re thinking about is trying to do our best against whoever we’re up against.
“There’s no point crowing because, as well as you do in football, it can be taken away from you just as quickly.”
Intriguingly, holders Alresford and Sholing go head-to-head at Winchester’s Denplan City Ground next Tuesday (7.45) in the delayed SWL Cup semi-final.
Division One outfit Petersfield Town – 3-2 conquerors of higher division Whitchurch – await the winners.