CHICKERELL United striker Steve Welch hit his third hat-trick of the season as the Chickens cruised to a 4-0 win over Witchampton United at the Stalls in their Dorset Senior League clash.

Shaun Murphy’s men, who stay second, were initially made to work hard by the Witches, but did go close early on when they struck the woodwork.

But the concession of the first signalled a shift in momentum as Welch bagged a treble before Matt Stickland capped an impressive performance with a goal.

Speaking to Echosport after the game, Murphy believed his side’s “hard efforts came off”.

He said: “We defended well and kept our cool. As soon as we got the goal everything seemed to rise and our hard efforts came off.

“Witchampton actually started the game better than us. The first 25 minutes they were probably the better side but we hit the post early on.

“Just before the goal we started to take control of the game. We scored the first goal after half an hour when James Handsford crossed for Steve.

“The second half we came out and we were straight at them and went 2-0 up after 55 minutes when Steve got his second. Then Matt and Steve combined really well to get his hat-trick.

“Matt got the fourth one and he thoroughly deserved it. He’s hit the post, set one up and had a few chances.”

Commenting on Welch’s display, Murphy said the striker becomes deadlier as teams begin to tire.

He said: “That’s his third hat-trick at home. He’s a really good player. He’s so fast as well which obviously helps him and when teams start to tire it’s a good bonus for us.”

Chickens: Bickerstaff, Sandeman, Miles, Rogers, Heath, Handsford (Miller 65), Etherington, Harvey, Dewey (Sonner 60), Stickland, Welch (Ryan 70).