A hat-trick of hat-tricks! Carshalton Athletic third after Horsham upset

Forward Tommy Bradford was at the heart of Carshalton Athletic’s five-star performance on Saturday as they recorded a fourth consecutive league victory.

Visitors Horsham arrived at Colston Avenue unbeaten in eight league games but Carshalton’s irresistible forward play was underlined by Bradford’s third hat-trick of the season.

The eventual 5-1 scoreline pushed both Carshalton up to third in the Ryman Division One South and Bradford clear as the league’s top goalscorer, leaving Robins coach Mike Gilham purring after the final whistle.

“I’ve lost count of how many match balls Tommy’s taken home this season,” smiled Gilham.

“He is a top player, great to work with. Not only does he score goals but he’s still keen to learn and shows his commitment to the team by doing his defensive duties too.

“But the whole squad has been fantastic recently. We didn’t enjoy the best time across December and New Years but we identified a few things to work on, everyone’s worked hard and our last four performances have been excellent.”

Defender Rio Davidson-Phipps began Carshalton’s rout in the third minute when he cracked home an impressive 18-yard drive in off Josh Pelling’s crossbar.

Bradford doubled the lead with a perfectly-placed 20 yard free kick, but Horsham were awarded a spot-kick on 36 minutes which Scott Kirkwood duly converted.

That was as good as it got for the visitors however as Bradford’s firm shot on 45 minutes squirmed past Pelling’s weak hand, and he completed his treble just after the break with a sublime curled effort.

On-loan striker Omar Folkes’ cool side-footed finish on 71 minutes put a gloss on the final score and Gilham believes Carshalton’s promotion aspirations will stay alive if they can keep it tight at the back.

“We know our attacking players can create a goal out of nothing but we can’t rely on that alone,” he said.

“We’ve worked hard on the defensive side of our game in training lately and it’s paying off. We’ve only conceded two goals in the last four games and they were both penalties.

“If we can keep defensively solid then our forward play will keep speaking for itself and we should be able to stay in the play-off mix.”

Carshalton Athletic’s next game is an away trip to Ramsgate on Saturday, February 11 (kick-off 3pm).

Featured image courtesy of Ian Gerrard, with thanks

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