Knighty The Hat-Trick Hero
By Dean Wootten
Three goals for Knighty as Bowers overcome rivals Basildon
David Knight scored a clinical hat-trick as Bowers & Pitsea remained 11 points clear at the top of the league with a 4-0 hammering of local rivals Basildon United.
Callum Leahy had he first chance of the match for Bowers but he dragged wide, in what was the only bright moment for the hosts as Basildon dominated the opening ten minutes. But, the league leaders soon took control of the game and went ahead through a delightful David Knight opener. Brad Warner received the ball on the left before darting into space a swinging in a cross which Knight stylishly flicked home with the outside of his boot.
Quentin Monville looked to continue his recent run of good form, skipping inside two Basildon defenders before seeing his drive clung onto, just, by Dylan Skinner. Warner then went close with a free-kick but his curling effort flew just wide of the post.
Knight should have doubled both his and Bowers tally early in the second half, but after managing to get in behind the Bees defence he blazed his shot over. Knight then nearly grabbed an assist but saw Lewis Manor head straight at Skinner. Just after the hour mark, Manor came inches away from scorning Bowers second, but his header from Warner's cross was denied by the base of the post.
Bowers were struggling to shake off the Bees, but kept applying the pressure as Lewis Clark, Manor and Knight combined to set up Warner but he fired wide. The league leaders were gifted the perfect opportunity to put the game to bed with two minutes to go, as Jeffrey Cobblah stupidly chopped down Monville as he advanced into the area. Knight smashed home the resulting penalty which was too hot for Skinner, who couldn't keep it out despite getting a hand to it.
Two minutes later it was game over and hat-trick completed as Knight was able to waltz through the Basildon defence and collect Andy Wilton's long ball forward before unleashing a volley into the top corner. Bowers came close to adding a fourth but saw the post deny them for a second time in the game, Leahy heading against the woodwork this time around.
Bowers were to get their fourth of the afternoon as Warner added a goal to his earlier assist. James Thomas clipped an inch perfect ball down the line for Warner who advanced on goal before cutting inside his marker and firing home. It was the perfect end for Bowers as they secured their 11 point lead at the top of the league with 10 games to go.