Spot on: Bradford hits hat-trick of penalties as Carshalton Athletic earn point against Hastings United

A hat-trick of penalties from the returning Tommy Bradford lit up a cracking game at Colston Avenue on Saturday as Carshalton Athletic drew 4-4 with Hastings United.

Bradford, making his first full start after more than a month out injured, converted three times from the spot as the game ebbed and flowed and saw the Robins come back from 3-1 down at half time to lead 4-3.

The point was enough to keep Carshalton in the top five of Ryman Division One South but the 21-year old rued his side’s failure to capitalise on a bright opening to the game.

“We began well and scored early doors but for some reason we relaxed a bit and they picked us off with three quick goals,” said Bradford, whom won and subsequently converted a spot-kick awarded in the fifth minute.

“At half time we spoke about keeping composed and the need to be braver because we felt we were still in the game.

“But, again, it was disappointing to get ourselves 4-3 in front only to concede again. Hastings were well-organised but three of their goals came via set-pieces and that’s something we have to improve on.”

Two headed goals by centre back Steve Watt and a fine curling effort from Harry Stannard put Hastings in control but Mickel Miller’s 11th of the season reduced the arrears on 51 minutes before Bradford buried two more penalties as the Robins led again before the hour.

But Watt had the last laugh as he arrowed a cross/shot in from a narrow angle on 64 minutes to complete his own treble and the afternoon’s goalscoring exploits.

“I’ve scored two penalties in a match before but never three,” smiled Bradford.

“We could’ve had a fourth for handball late on (a free kick on the edge was eventually given) but I’d have let Ricky Korboa take it – my legs felt so heavy!”

Bradford’s hat-trick took him to 14 for the season overall, three behind Korboa and three in front of Miller, but the diminutive playmaker claimed all three aren’t focusing too much on personal glory.

“I couldn’t believe Ricky wouldn’t stop scoring when I was out injured, I was like come on,” he laughed,

“But we don’t put our competitiveness ahead of the team.

“None of us are greedy and are just as happy to pass or set somebody else up if they are in a better position. We all just want the team to succeed.”

It’s Ryman League Cup action next for Carshalton Athletic as they head to South Park for a second round tie on Wednesday.

Feature image of Tommy Bradford courtesy of Ian Gerrard, with thanks

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