Zak Willett lines up a shot at the US goal in Portsmouth. Photo: Martyn White.

Snatched from two lower divisions at Paulsgrove this summer, the fast forward took Stage 5 football by storm.

He took his seasonal tally to 14 with a brace in the first half as Horndean moved up to third place in the standings with a 3-1 win in the USA PO Postal Code Derby in Portsmouth.

Only Silvano Obeng (20) and Kieran Roberts (15) – two experienced Southern League players – have scored more league and cup goals in 2021/22 among Wessex League players than Willett.

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Horndean skipper Ash Howes on the ball. Photo Martyn Blanc

The United States entered the game after three losses in the Wessex derby to Baffins (0-3), Fareham (1-6) and Moneyfields (1-4). It was an exceptionally difficult series of matches and it wasn’t easier when Horndean made his first league visit to Victory Stadium since 2010/11.

At the time, goals from Torr Spicer and Nathan Paxton gave Deans Dave Carter a 2-0 victory en route to promotion to the Wessex elite.

Thanks to Willett, it was the half-time score here.

His first goal came in the 25th minute, forcing the ball into point blank range after debutant Dylan Kramer – the fifth USP goaltender used this season – was unable to parry a low shot from Connor Duffin.

Charlie Osbourne from US Portsmouth, right. Photo: Martyn White

Kramer came out quickly to reduce the angle and save Duffin 60 seconds later.

The second goal came two minutes before the break. Running over a long ball from Ash Howes in the right side channel, a nice first touch took him away from Owen Scammell with Willett rushing into the 18-yard penalty area before hitting a shot past Kramer and into the corner. inferior. It was a great goal from a confident player.

Most of the first-half action was condensed in the USP half, and Willett (offside) and Alfie Lis (foul) saw “goals” ruled out.

The only time the hosts threatened was in a five-minute period before Willett’s first game when Cameron Scott saved both John Cass and Brodie Spencer.

It was a similar story after the reboot.

Lis prepared Ben Anderson for a close-range effort that should have been on target but was rather wide.

Duffin then managed to figure out a way to overcome about four challenges, although he struggled to stand the entire way, eventually landing a shot that Kramer deflected for a corner. From there, Lis blazed at point blank range.

Against the run of play, the United States came back into the game in the 64th minute when Obi Saidy landed a free kick and landed a nice header. It was only the fifth goal Deans had conceded in nine league appearances.

US boss Tom Grice took advantage of the moment to make a double substitution, involving top scorer Joe Johnson and Callum Jones. But the hosts’ main offensive weapon in the final 20 minutes came from Saidy’s huge touches that the visitors defended well.

On the other end, Horndean sealed a victory they had always looked like from the very early stages of the competition in 73 minutes.

Kramer couldn’t hold back a 25 yards from Lis and, after Willett pinched to take the ball past the keeper, Duffin couldn’t really miss six yards.

It was the former USP forward’s eighth goal of the season and it again showed why Grice considers him one of the best players in the Wessex League.

Horndean is now preparing for another PO derby this weekend – a tantalizing trip to the Baffins Milton Rovers. If the Deans can earn five straight league wins, ending Baffins’ unbeaten record, they will move up to second place.

USP are fortunate enough to end their four-game losing streak in the league deep at Hythe & Dibden.

USP: Kramer, Cass, Scammell, Jeffes, Saidy, Smart, Paige (Johnson, 65), Spencer, Osbourne (Quirke, 53), Ndlovu (Jones, 65).

Horndean: Scott, Taw, Miller (Field, 73), Hookey, Martin, Dempsey, Anderson, Howes, Duffin, Lis (Kimber, 83), Willett.

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