Chris Jackson’s hat-trick lifted Pontefract Collieries to top spot when they beat local rivals Glasshoughton Welfare in Division One of the Toolstation NCE League on Tuesday night.
With Welfare much improved this season a tough game was expected, but Ponte came through their derby with flying colours and Jackson could have had more as he also hit the post twice and missed other chances.
Colls took control early on with Jackson getting the first of his goals after just five minutes.
Straight from the restart the home side attacked again and Mikey Dunn saw an angled shot drift just over. Kane Reece then headed just wide.
Welfare’s Connor Glavin had a low shot easily gathered before the home side increased the lead on 18 minutes as Tom Carr launched a long throw and Dunn jinked his way past a static defence before sliding the ball across for Jackson to score.
Welfare tried to hit back, but Glavin had a free-kick blocked and Adam Hayton hit a shot over. After a good move down the left Ryan Poskitt just failed to prod the ball in.
Jackson fired over then had another effort saved by Dan Waring. He hit a post with a wicked shot and hit the woodwork again just before the break. But he did complete his hat-trick on 58 minutes from Reece’s cross.
Just after this ex-Welfare player Dunn saw red when his flying tackle sent Lewis Akeister crashing to the ground.
More poor defending allowed Carr a clear run on goal, but he hammered the ball the wrong side of the post.
Shortly before the end Jackson should have increased his tally. Firstly he rounded Waring before his final shot was hacked away and then with only the Welfare keeper to beat he pushed the ball just wide of the post.
After the game Welfare joint manager Lee Vigars commented: “Very disappointed with tonight. We simply didn’t turn up against an impressive Pontefract side who punished our under par performance.
“It’s not an excuse, but with a number of key players missing through injuries and holidays it does affect your systems that have proven successful up to this point. It’s been a learning curve for some tonight and we need to pick the boys up and go again against Ollerton this weekend. Hopefully we will put a number of wrongs right.”
Pontefract were also in winning form last Saturday when they beat Rossington Main 2-1.
After a goalless first half, Dunn put Colls ahead seven minutes into the second period.
Back came Rossington through Liam Cooper on 68, but Ponte clinched all three points 11 minutes from time when Dunn grabbed his second and 18th of the campaign.
Collieries now face two tough games against promotion challengers.
First up on Saturday they go to Campion, who are acquitting themselves well in their first season in the league, standing in seventh place.
Next Tuesday Colls then return home as they host previous leaders Penistone Church in a game that already at this stage looks like a six-pointer. Kick-off at the Harratts Nissan Stadium against opponents still unbeaten after their first 12 matches is 7.45pm.