Hopley hat-trick seals Stalybridge win


Aaron Haley


A NINE-minute hat-trick from Colwyn Bay hitman Rob Hopley fired the Seagulls to a 4-0 demolition of second placed Stalybridge Celtic.

A trio of poachers’ finishes took Hopley’s tally to ten for the season and six in five unbeaten matches for the Bay, before a stunning free-kick from full-back Luke Denson secured another three points for the high-flying Seagulls.

Hopley scored twice in the final few minutes of the first half and took home the match ball with a looping header on 50 minutes, and player-boss Jon Newby said he was delighted with his team-mate’s lethal form as the Bay finish a tough month of fixtures unbeaten with 13 points from 15 games.

“It’s been a really good month for us, and in Rob Hopley we have a forward who can’t stop scoring,” he said.

“He deserves it as he’s been playing really well for the team, and since he scored a couple at Altrincham he’s been in great form. He’s got the golden touch at the moment, and long may it continue.

The 36th minute dismissal of Stalybridge defender Andy McWilliams for a rash challenge on John McKenna tipped the tie in Colwyn Bay’s favour, but Newby felt that his side were in charge of the clash before the red card, and said he was delighted with the Seagulls’ rich run of form.

“We were playing well without scoring, and sometimes when you go against ten men it’s harder. But we scored at the right time, and added another after half-time. We said the next goal would be crucial, so it was a great time to score,”

“We’ve just kept going really. When we were losing games I don’t think we were doing a lot wrong, but we’ve brought in some quality players like Shelton Payne and Frank Sinclair, which has made a big difference.”

“I’ve always believed that this league is wide open where anyone can beat anyone, so we’ve got to stay focused going into these games.

Hopley’s bullet header and a sweet finish from Newby’s lay-off put the Bay in command, and the hat-trick hero secured the win by converting Shelton Payne’s cross early in the second half.

Denson put the cherry on a handsome win with a wonderful free-kick twenty minutes from time, bending a 30 yard free-kick into the top corner.

The Seagulls take on 18th placed Bishop's Stortford on Saturday at 3pm at the Red Lion Foods Stadium in the first of a triple-header of home matches. The following Tuesday, February 7, the Bay host Boston United, before renewing acquaintances with FC Halifax on February 11.

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