A PERFECT hat-trick from Bodalla striker Stuart Piper relegated fierce rival Clyde United to its first defeat of the Eurobodalla Football All Age men’s season on Sunday.
Piper’s three goals (one with his head, one with his left foot and one with his right foot) helped Bodalla to a thrilling 4-3 win at Surfside Sports Complex.
Both teams struggled for numbers and United was certainly feeling the pinch as it had to start with 10 men, missing influential midfielder Matt O’Neill and goalkeeper Ric Patrizi among others.
Most of Bodalla’s absentees were in the backline, which forced star playmaker Jesse French to take up an anchoring role in the heart of defence.
After an entertaining start that produced end-to-end football, Bodalla took the lead on 10 minutes when Piper headed home at the back post.
Piper was on target again five minutes later when he latched on to a neat through ball from Jordy Roberts and rounded Clyde keeper Matt Jackson to slot home with his left foot.
United received a helping hand on 20 minutes when young forward Jye Kelly gave the home side a full quota of players.
Kelly’s introduction proved telling as, with the match seemingly slipping away, United responded through Jack Rixon to reduce the deficit.
Then 60 seconds later, the newly crowned minor premiers were level thanks to Paul Jenner’s neat finish at the near post.
The 2-all deadlock remained until half-time, but the scores didn’t stay level for long in the second half.
With United keen on playing the ball out from the back, Piper pounced on a wayward pass, surged into the box and unleashed a fierce right-footed strike into the roof of the net to complete his treble.
Things went from bad to worse for United a short while later when defender Dean Benson received his marching orders for a second bookable offence.
However, the bad news was far from over for the hosts as French stepped up to score the ensuing free kick for 4-2.
United then went down to nine men as Rixon limped off injured.
However Kelly, who normally plays for Clyde’s youth boys team, gave the home side some hope in the final minute when his brilliant run could only be stopped by a foul in the penalty area.
Nathan Vogel scored from 12 yards, but there was hardly enough time for the following kick-off.
In the weekend’s other results, Broulee got back on track with a 2-1 win over Moruya while Narooma hit Batemans Bay FC for six.