MANCHESTER LEAGUE: Clinical Hopwood grabs stunning hat-trick for Hindsford

HINDSFORD got back to winning ways after a Chris Hopwood hat-trick ensured a 3-1 victory at Walshaw Sports.

Hopwood’s clinical finishing extended their gap at the summit of the Premier Division to six points after second-placed Stockport Georgians could only manage a draw against Royton Town.

Walshaw had lost only one of their previous seven matches but Hopwood proved to be a nightmare for the home team, grabbing his first two inside half an hour.

The striker was in the right place at the right time for both his first-half finishes, tapping home from two poorly defended corners.

The hat-trick goal was the result of another corner, this time from Walshaw. The Tonic’s cleared a set piece well and set up a quick counter attack that found Shane Goldrick in the box. The midfielder was brought down before he could pull the trigger and Hopwood sent the keeper the wrong way from the resulting penalty.

Walshaw continued to press for a way back into the game and they got what turned out to be a consolation goal from yet another corner.

Hindsford held on well and the victory was sealed when Walshaw’s captain received a second yellow card 10 minutes from time for a strong challenge on Jack Valentine.

It was an impressive win for the champions who could increase their lead further next week when they travel to third-placed AVRO who have lost their last two matches.

James Dooley’s impressive first-half hat-trick was not enough for Division One’s Leigh Athletic, as Hollinwood fought back to earn a point.

The forward was in magnificent form, beating the keeper in three one-on-one situations with the goalkeeper in the opening 45 minutes and Athletic looked rampant.

However, the home side were hampered by an injury to centre-back Andrew Heald who could not continue after the interval.

Manager Colin Pickering was disappointed with the way his team responded to the loss of their influential defender.

“Once he [Heald] had gone off we completely fell apart. We are disappointed as we should have gone on to win the game.”

Pickering was keen to look at the positives for his side, who have not lost a league game since October.

“It was a good game that was closely fought, and for us it’s another draw. We would obviously have liked the three points but we are still unbeaten in the last three.”

Athletic’s next game comes on the 28th December at home to Heywood St James


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