Ace marksman Bennett keen to rediscover his form with Poole

HAT-TRICK HERO: Poole loan star Justin Bennett

HAT-TRICK HERO: Poole loan star Justin Bennett

First published in Non league football
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Bournemouth Echo: Photograph of the Author by

PROLIFIC marksman Justin Bennett knows he must keep delivering the goods for Poole Town if he is to stand any chance of realising his Wembley dream.

The Gosport striker made a stunning start to his loan spell with the Dolphins by plundering a hat-trick in their 5-1 win over Southern Premier League rivals Bedford last night.

Bennett, whose goals fired Alex Pike’s Boro to successive promotions, has joined Poole – initially for a month – in a bid to regain his form following an indifferent start to life in Conference South.

And after helping Poole sink Bedford, Bennett had a keen eye on the outcome of Havant & Waterlooville’s FA Trophy quarter-final against Aldershot – with victory for the Hawks setting up a last-four clash with Gosport.

Although Bennett is ineligible for the first leg of the semi-final under the terms of his loan, he would be available for the second at Privett Park on February 22 – and a possible final at Wembley in March.

Bennett, a paraplanner for a financial adviser in Salisbury, told the Daily Echo: “I was buzzing for the lads at Gosport when they won their quarter-final on Saturday. 

"I can’t say I am not thinking about it but, as much as it is on my mind, I am just trying to concentrate on doing as well as I can for Poole.

“I would love to be a part of it. It is not every day a player at this level gets the chance of a day out at Wembley and I would be gutted if I were to miss out.

"But there is a still a semi-final to be won and, until anything is decided, I will be trying to do my best for Poole.”

Discussing his loan move, Bennett added: “Goals have been hard to come by for all the strikers at Gosport this season and a few of us have been dropped here and there.

"It has been a case of fits and starts for me. I felt I needed to be playing games to get my confidence back so expressed an interest in going out on loan.

“Alex had a conversation with Tom (Killick) and it was left in my hands. As soon as I heard Poole wanted me, I jumped at the chance because I knew what a good club they were.

"If Alex gets a striker who scores a few goals, he might look at extending the loan and, if I am banging in goals for Poole, he might want to take me back.”

Bennett netted twice inside the opening 19 minutes at Bedford before his third goal was sandwiched between second-half strikes from Marvin Brooks and Jordan Chiedozie. Jordan Jarrold’s effort had made it 2-1.

“My first game could not have gone any better,” said the former Salisbury, Andover and Eastleigh sharpshooter.

“The boys at work said I should set my sights on a hat-trick but I said I would be happy to just get a game because I hadn’t played much recently.”

Dolphins: Buchel, Emmerson, Spetch, Martin, Whisken, Pettefer, Brooks, Devlin (Davies, 80), Bennett (Elliott, 80), Preston, Charles (Chiedozie, 65). Unused subs: Cann, Lowes.

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