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Matthew Clough hat-trick gets Bingley Bees off to a flier
Bingley Bees got the new year off to a flying start with two goals in the first seven minutes on their way to a 5-3 win at City of York Sevenths in the Yorkshire League.
Stephen Booth opened the scoring in the fourth minute of the Division Five North clash, with Matthew Clough quickly adding the second.
Both teams then entered into a passage of play full of errors, doubtless due to the four-week break over Christmas, and the hosts were fortunate to close the gap with an own goal.
But the third-placed Bees picked up the pace again and a second strike by Clough immediately before half-time restored their two-goal advantage.
Mid-table York managed a reshuffle at half-time due to the late arrival of one of their players and the game became a more balanced contest.
But Bingley did not allow them to settle and Gavin Waddell made it 4-1 11 minutes into the second period, before man of the match Clough completed his treble.
York belatedly got into their stride and pulled two goals back but never looked like doing enough to sway the result in their favour.
The victory leaves Bingley level on points with second-placed York University Thirds and just two behind leaders Driffield Seconds.
The Bees ladies first team had no game but the seconds resumed after Christmas with a 3-1 home win against Huddersfield Firsts in their Division Four fixture.
It took just four minutes for Bingley to take the lead as Sarah Eaton made ground on the right of midfield before Sian Porter finished off the move.
The score remained unchanged until moments before the interval when Huddersfield conceded a penalty corner, which saw Cath Wood score with a clean strike after combining with Jenny Bone.
The Bees seemed to lose momentum in the second half but were rescued on several occasions by outstanding keeper Rachel Fuller.
She was beaten on one occasion but Wood added her second goal of the game via a deflection to give Bingley breathing space.
The Bees’ win lifted them to within five points of their fourth-placed opponents in sixth position.