Taylor the hat-trick hero as Town return to winning ways

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Mike Taylor scored a hat-trick as Town secured their biggest win of the season. Photo: Mark Williamson

FOOTBALL

Stratford Town 5-1 Dunstable Town

Evo-Stik Southern Premier

Report by Colin Stoner

MIKE Taylor opened his goals account for the season with a cracking hat-trick to fire Stratford to their biggest win of the campaign.

Taylor netted a first-half treble to follow an opener from Edwin Ahenkorah as Town swept aside struggling Dunstable at the MoodChimp Stadium.

It was a first win in six league and cup matches for Carl Adams’ men and the goal margin could easily have been doubled in a one-sided first half

The second period was a different matter as Andrew Osei-Bonsu finished well for the visitors before substitute Justin Marden rammed in Town’s fifth.

Boss Adams made three changes from the midweek Birmingham Senior Cup exit to Solihull Moors, with Akenkorah starting his first game in six after a knee injury and Lee Thomas and Eli Bako also coming in. Marsden, Loyiso Recci and Jazz Luckie dropped to the bench.

Lee Thomas had fired weakly at keeper Casey Harker as Stratford set about their task with purpose early on and within seven minutes they had taken the lead.

Charlie Evans’ fierce shot was parried by Harker but Will Grocott collected the rebound to cross for Ahenkorah to fire home.

Dunstable responded moments later with a free header by Gedeon Okito which landed on the roof of the net but that was as close as they got throughout the first half.

Without finding top gear, Town continued to press as Ahenkorah’s shot was deflected, Taylor’s effort was easily saved and a defensive clearance ricocheted off Taylor a couple of feet wide.

But the second goal they threatened arrived on 26 minutes. It was all down to bustling forward Taylor’s perseverance, as he wrestled his way past three defenders and raced round the full-back to clip his shot past  Harker.

Only the post denied Liam Francis on 39 minutes, as the defender’s header thudded against the post from Evans’ cross and then hit Harker to fly over the goal.

There was no reprieve two minutes later when Grocott fired a corner into the six-yard box and Taylor nodded in.

Another cross, this time from Evans on the right, picked out Taylor again on 44 minutes and the forward headed powerfully into the net.

Taylor should added his fourth moments later after Ahenkorah slipped him in on goal but Harker saved well with his foot.

Town, though, couldn’t continue the momentum in the second half as Dunstable had more and more possession.

Osei-Bonsu’s trickery and willingness to shoot was a real danger. One long-range strike drifted just wide but on 59 minutes he finished with real panache, taking a pass in his stride on the inside-left channel and cutting inside for a right-footed curler beyond keeper Louis Connor.

Another Osei-Bonsu effort swerved just a foot wide but Town sealed their biggest win of the season on 73 minutes. Harker tried to trick Marsden with his footwork on the edge of the area but the striker nicked the ball and slotted into the unguarded goal.

TOWN: Connor; Gallinagh, Francis, Summerfield; Evans, Bako (Hancocks 72), Fry, Grocott, Thomas; Ahenkorah (Marsden 63), Taylor (Luckie 63). Subs: Recci, Stephens.

DUNSTABLE: Harker; Kioso,Sonuiga, Betts,Okito; Young (Mukeundi, HT), Collins, Lapido (Silva, 81), Hudson (Ogden, 40); Osei-Bonsu, Amu. Subs: Chidyausiku. Odusoga.