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FOOTBALL: MIDLAND COMBINATION: Thacker grabs hat-trick as Sphinx youngsters impress.

"UPSETTING the apple cart" was how Sphinx boss Martin Ascrocft described his side's impressive showing in their Premier Division 3-0 win at Rugby Town last night.

Tom Thacker's hat-trick was the highlight of a remarkable performance from a young and inexperienced outfit.

Injuries and suspensions had ruled out many of Ascroft's first choices and with the emphasis placed on the club's youth, they were rarely tested by a much stronger-looking home side.

Thacker's first goal came with a glanced header from Rob Stevenson's cross to give Sphinx the advantage at the break and thereafter they went on to emphatically clinch the game thanks in no small part to the intervention of young Luke Hopkins.

The 17-year-old came on in the 70th minute and had an instant impact. Firstly, he beat three players to feed Thacker for his second goal and then, with a surging break from midfield provided the cross for the striker to complete his treble.

IMPRESSIVE Leamington charged to the top of the table with a decisive 2-0 victory at Pershore Town.

Goals from Nick Mort and Paul Nicholls earned Jason Cadden's men three crucial points to take them above both Marconi and Bolehall in the title chase.

Cadden was delighted with the win saying: "It was a great win and I'm chuffed to bits. The lads may not have been at their best but they did the job and now we look forward to facing Massey Ferguson on Saturday."

STOCKINGFORD AA showed their courage and composure as they pulled off a superb 4-3 win at the Division One's in-form club Poles-worth North Warwickshire to further emphasise their quest for the championship and promotion.

Jimmy Ginnelly's boys knew they were in for a vigorous challenge at the north Warwickshire outpost but in a sparkling performance they grabbed the honours despite being 3-1 down at the break to stay a point clear at the head of affairs of Knowle, who secured a 2-1 decision at Northfield Town last night to stay in the hunt.

Barry Clark, who made a couple of errors to help the hosts go in at the break in control, also notched a brace at the opposite end to make amends while new signing Lee Smith, from Nuneaton Griff, and Paul Clark with a late winner, added the others.

STRATFORD Town have one foot in the final of the Midland Alliance League Cup final after a thorough and professional 2-0 victory over Studley BKL in the first leg of their last four tie at Masons Road last night.

Manager Lenny Derby was pleased with the victory as goals from Leon Mitchell and Leon Allen netted a valuable advantage for the away second leg next Wednesday night.

A couple of defensive blunders by the visitors led to both goals with Mitchell making the breakthrough just past the half hour as he latched on to a miskick by a Studley defender to fire fiercely into the net.

Allen confirmed Town's superiority after the interval as he took advantage of hesitancy in the BKL ranks to nip in and lob over the keeper.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Apr 2, 2003
Words:514
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