Bennett hat-trick seals victory for Read United

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ANDY Bennett’s superb hat-trick was the inspiration for a win, dedicated to the memory of former Read United player and much revered local man Simon Holt, who sadly passed away recently.

The players lined up in black armbands, serving an impeccable minute silence to provide a sombre start to the match.

On a windswept afternoon, United were caught leaden-footed at the back as Oli Claire made it 1-0 from an acute angle, but seconds later Bennett was celebrating as he equalised with a header from close range.

Read’s barricades were breached again, as Claire broke down the right, and his cross met powerfully on the volley to make it 2-1.

It was then Groundhog day for the St Mary’s back-line as Bennett ambushed a stray back pass to nonchalantly level matters.

A helter-skelter first half came to a close with Read keeper Nick Galea stupendously clawing away a 35-yard howitzer destined for the top corner.

After the break, Jack Fielding’s clever foot-work and shot gave Read a deserved lead, shortly followed by Bennett, who was given the freedom of Oswaldtwistle to fire home and claim the matchball.

Confidence seeped into United, and one run by marauding full back Leigh Slater had vapour trails emanating from his boots as he flashed just wide from 30 yards.

Read midfield lynchpin Kyle O’ Connor then let off a well directed firework at the St. Marys goal, it was too hot to handle for the keeper who could only push it onto the bar and in to cap a five-star display.

Read United co-manager Bennett said: “It was a great team performance, our quality came through in the end and it’s pleasing to finally get the win that the recent performances have deserved.”

FINAL SCORE: Ossy St Marys 2, Read United 5

• PRO-Future Under 10s enjoyed a 4-0 over Huncoat United Black to go back to the top of the table.

Goals came from Oliver Wiggans, Lewis Gregson and Matt Anderton (2).

The following day, the side beat Great Harwood Rovers 8-1, with Zaid Adam, Matt Anderton, Sam Howarth, Wiggans and man of the match Tommy Davies, who bagged four, on target.