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Weston-super-Mare 0-3 Salisbury City
Blue Square Bet South (09.03.13)
Salisbury City: Puddy, Wilson, J. Clarke, Giles (Brett, 59), Udoji, Dutton (c), Lewis, Wellard, McPhee, Fitchett, White (R. Sinclair, 84).
Subs not used: Scott, Frear, Ademeno.
Scorer: Fitchett (38, 86, 90+3)
DAN Fitchett’s splendid hat-trick claimed Salisbury City’s first away win of the year.
A fruitful performance from the Whites, led by Fitchett’s terrific goals, cashed in on three vital points in North Somerset, which has rekindled the team’s Conference South title hopes.
Fitchett’s first league hat-trick for the Whites, since he joined in 2011, got off on a memorable note, swinging the advantage in his side’s favour seven minutes before the interval with a stinging volley.
The visitors had an abundant of chances to double the lead but they had to wait longer than anticipated for it to arrive.
But on the 86th minute, Fitchett went clear on goal and swept a left-footed curler into the bottom corner.
With the points confirmed, Fitchett was determined to gather the match ball, which he claimed in a flamboyant manner. He saved the best of the bunch until the third minute of stoppage time, nestling a long-range rocket into the top corner.
The satisfying result for Darrell Clarke’s men on the road - their first since December 15 at Eastbourne Borough – has put them in second position on goal difference, but that could alter when Welling United play in the week.
A transformed Salisbury side forgot about Tuesday night’s woes and focused on ending a dismal run of six without an away win.
The return of Chris Giles boosted morale, who was one of three changes named in the starting XI.
Jamie White also returned with Ugo Udoji, whereas Callum Hart was out with a groin injury and Rob Sinclair and Ryan Brett dropped to the bench.
The Whites showed no signs of a midweek hangover, making a sprightly start at the Woodspring Stadium. Theo Lewis’ free-kick inside five minutes fooled the crowd, who thought it snuck into the bottom corner, but instead the ball dropped around the other side of a post.
Brian Dutton then niggled through on goal but his jabbed effort ricocheted off stopper Lloyd Irish’s elbow. As the visitors continued to press, Fitchett was next to have a bite on goal along with strike partner White.
And on the 38th minute, the opening goal came. Chris McPhee marched down the right and hooked over a cross which was fired home by Fitchett.
The visitors defended resiliently when called upon in the early sequences of the second half, and Will Puddy’s low dive to his near post kept out Ross Stearn’s driven effort.
Down the other end, Brett toppled the woodwork and Brett Trowbridge kept Weston in the affair, blocking Wellard’s goal bound efforts. Then White fluffed a one-on-one, which made the last few moments slightly sketchy. But after Naby Diallo’s back pass unintentionally fell to Fitchett, he comfortably made it 2-0.
Fitchett wasn’t done there, and got a deserved third after picking up the ball on the edge of the box and steered home a thunderbolt, his 14th of the campaign. Full reaction from hat-trick hero Dan Fitchett and Darrell Clarke in Thursday’s journal, plus a preview on Salisbury’s home clash with Chris Kinnear’s Dover Athletic on Saturday (3pm).