On a bitterly cold day Hurst Green’s first team entertained Dalton Utd from Cumbria and gained a 6 - 0 win in a series of potentially season defining home fixtures.
The game marked the 550th appearance for Dalton Utd’s skipper, which were amassed over a 17-year period.
With new signing Rick Coar on the bench, the villagers kicked off down the slope and with Dalton employing two deep lines of defence there was little goalmouth action in the early stages. Indeed, the home crowd that have been used to free flowing games all season were commenting on the workrate of the visitors who were well organised and who were looking comfortable until Walker struck with a deflected shot past the keeper on 15 minutes.
The game then followed it’s previous pattern with no real rhythm and the home side were dealt a blow when leading marksman Alan Coar had to be replaced on 20 mins by his debutant brother Rick. Dalton were sporadic in their attacking intentions, but from one breakaway, Bartlett made a superb last ditch interception to thwart a clear scoring opportunity. HT 1-0.
Dalton had their tales up early in the second half and after a couple of corners they worked an opening where from a superb headed knock down the striker blazed over when he really should have scored. This shook the home side and they responded when on 55 mins Tipton’s superbly delivered cross was expertly headed home by Rick Coar to make it 2-0. Coar then broke clear on the right and unselfishly laid the ball across to strike partner Stead to make it 3-0.
Tipton then got in on the act again delivering a right wing corner onto the head of Stead who powered home, 4-0. The visitors continued to work hard but the home side were enjoying more possession and it was no surprise when a ball over the top was slammed home by Coar to make it 5-0.
There was just time for one more incident. This was never a bad tempered affair, but when substitute Nolan was adjudged by the referee to have been elbowed by the visitors’ keeper, the cutodian was dismissed and Stead stepped up to slam home the penalty and complete his hat trick. FT 6-0.
This was the first of four consecutive home games for The Green and was a profitable afternoon where the goal difference was appreciably boosted. It was a business-like performance rather than the swashbuckling style the home support are used to, but at this stage the result is everything.
Manager Seedall had picked a strong side and the inclusion of Byrne gave the midfield an energy that protected the defence and gave stability when not in possession. However, it was the defence that really took the plaudits with Aspinwall, Bartlett and Tipton looking solid, this bodes well for the ‘run in.’