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FOOTBALL: Brooks hits treble to lift Ardley's bid
10:00am Thursday 23rd January 2014 in Sport
Ryan Brooks hit a superb hat-trick as Premier Division leaders Ardley United completed a double over Wantage Town with a 3-0 home win in Saturday’s top-of-the-table encounter.
The result saw Kevin Brock’s side go five points clear of Highmoor Ibis, who leap-frogged Wantage into second with a 3-2 win over Bracknell Town.
Brooks, whose treble took his goals tally for the season to 40 in all competitions, opened the scoring on ten minutes.
Running on to a Stuart Bridges pass through the middle, the prolific striker outpaced the defence, before rounding keeper Steve Howe and shooting home.
Wantage, who have three games in hand on Ardley, had a great chance to equalise in the 58th minute when they were awarded a penalty after Matt Pedder was brought down by Kelvin McIntosh.
Richie Claydon took the spot-kick, but Jack Harding in the Ardley goal dived to his right to save a penalty for the second successive game.
It followed Harding’s heroics in the goalless draw at Kidlington the previous week.
This seemed to deflate Wantage, and Brooks doubled Ardley’s lead on 74 minutes.
He chased the ball into the area, only to lose control as Howe came out, but Brooks was first onto his feet to slot home off the far post.
Brooks completed his hat-trick four minutes from time, running on to a Steve How-kins ball over the top before firing home.
On Saturday, Ardley host Cirencester Town Development in the Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup third-round.