Brett Pitman took his league and cup season tally to 14 as the Royals recovered from conceding an early penalty to beat Hythe & Dibden 4-2 – their ninth straight league win.

Youngster Harrison Brook – who made a secondary appearance for Pompey in the EFL Trophy – also scored twice as Portchester stayed three points clear of Bemerton at the top of the Premier Division table.

Dave Carter’s side are now one of five clubs in the top 10 tiers of English football – a total of 52 divisions in total – with still an unblemished league record in 2022/23.

Brett Pitman, left, has now scored 14 league and cup goals for AFC Portchester this season. Photo by Daniel Haswell.

The others are Lowestoft (Isthmian League North, eighth tier), Erith & Belvedere (Southern Counties East, ninth tier), Pilkington (North West Counties League Division 1 North, 10th tier) and Real Bedford (Spartans South Midlands League Division 1, 10th stage).

Hythe had led after Elliott Wheeler conceded a penalty, but Portchester were ahead at half-time when Brook converted an Ashton Leigh cross and Pitman found himself after a corner.

Hythe equalized immediately after the restart but Pitman restored the Royals’ lead and Brook secured the latest triumph – Portchester’s 10th straight win in all competitions.

The club are now just two shy of equaling their all-time Wessex winning record of 11 matches, set at the second tier in 2011/12.

Carter said the euphoria of the previous Tuesday’s stoppage-time winner against Bemerton – allowing the Royals to move Harlequins into first place – had had a ripple effect.

“It was comfortable at the end,” he remarked. “It was ok, we had a huge game (against Bemerton) and we were a bit hungover, a bit dull.

“Hythe are a good passing team, but we dominated the second half, got the job done, got the three points.”

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Brook no doubt enjoys learning from Pitman, with all his years of Championship and EFL experience, but Carter says their strike partnership works both ways.

“It’s good for Brett too – Harrison is full of running, full of energy, and he’s getting better and more confident with every game.”

Carter is delighted that Portchester are one of only five clubs in the top 10 not yet to drop a point.

Yet he knows there can be no slacking. “It’s good (the 100% record) but we have to maintain it – Bemerton and Horndean both won 8-0 at the weekend.

“It’s never easy, but we have to try to maintain our winning ways.”

Midfielder James Cowan faces another fortnight with a cracked rib. It means he will miss Wednesday’s Wessex League Cup draw against Baffins, the club he managed last season.

Pitman, meanwhile, was overtaken at the top of the Wessex League Premier goalscoring charts despite his brace against Hythe.

That’s because AFC Stoneham striker Duarte Martins scored his second league hat-trick in eight days in a 4-0 win over Blackfield.

Martins had already scored three in a 4-1 win at US Portsmouth, and now has 10 goals in his last five league and cup outings.

In all, he has 15 goals in 2022/23 – one more than Pitman has managed since his much-publicized arrival in the ninth tier of English football.