Buoyant Brooks hits hat-trick as Ardley push on

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Ryan Brooks’ fourth hat-trick of the season fired Ardley United to an impressive 3-0 victory at Binfield on Monday.

Having suffered their first defeat of the season last week, Ardley bounced back in style to move up to third, two points off top.

Despite lining up with an unfamiliar back four, Ardley began like a train and took the lead on five minutes when Dean Smith’s cross was met by Brooks, who rifled past Matt Watson.

The home side were poor at the back but still posed a threat as Carl Withers went close before Ardley doubled their lead five minutes later as Kelvin McIntosh released Jon Gardner, who then produced a superb pass through to Brooks to score his second, giving Ardley a 2-0 half time lead.

Binfield made a strong start to the second period and had a golden opportunity to get themselves back into the game when they were awarded a penalty – but Jack Harding denied Withers.

Binfield’s misery was compounded minutes later when Ardley wrapped up the points. Harding was instrumental as his long kick was met by Brooks on the edge of the box and he again shot across Watson into the far corner.

Troy Bryan seemed certain to make it four but he miscued when well-placed – though it mattered little as the visitors comfortably saw out victory.

Ardley also enjoyed victory at the weekend when they earned a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Easington to progress into the next round of the Oxfordshire Senior Cup.

Steve Howkins saw two headers go wide in an evenly-contested first half where Ardley struggled to make much of an impact against their lower-ranked opponents until the 27th minute when Brooks scored from an inch-perfect Callum Convey pass.

James McMahon drew level on the stroke of half time, however, before a dominant second half performance from Ardas was finally rewarded four minutes from time as Bryan was tripped in the penalty area and Howkins smashed home to send United through.

Ardley are back in league action tomorrow, Saturday, when they host Abingdon.