SWP League: Hat-trick for Roberts as Ilfracombe Town see off Sidmouth Town
- Credit: Matt Smart
League leaders Ilfracombe Town claimed their first win of 2020 with a comfortable victory over Sidmouth Town on Saturday.
The Bluebirds scored five goals in the second half and were in control throughout as they strolled to a 7-1 win against the side at the foot of the table.
CJ Roberts scored a hat-trick for the hosts and Kevin Squire netted twice in the win. Squire opened the scoring after 18 minutes before Roberts converted a penalty minutes later.
They each scored again in the first three minutes of the second half to take the game out of the visitors' reach. Sam Stephens, Sam Bithell added to the score in the second half before Roberts completed his hat-trick.
Sidmouth pulled back a consolation goal late on to deny Ilfracombe a clean sheet.
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The win keeps Ilfracombe at the top of the Premier East with a five-point gap between them and second-place Brixham.
Manager Clem Bennellick said: "I was pleased with the first half, for 45 minutes we did enough.
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"There were times where our standards dropped a little bit and we got a little bit sloppy.
"In the second half I asked the boys to come out with a bit more intensity. We got that intensity nice and high and we delivered that, scoring two in three minutes in the second half.
"The pleasing thing for myself and Pete was it didn't kill it as a contest, we kept it going and still played some good football after that.
"We kept going, our standards were high. It was nice to get Sam Bithell a run-out and he did exactly what we asked and even got himself a goal. Finn King-Smith kept us ticking along nicely as well."
Bennellick praised Squire and Roberts too, with the pair combining for five goals on the day.
"They've got a great partnership going and you can't keep them apart now," said Bennellick.
"We tinkered the formation slightly today and changed it so we could have them both up front with Alife in the number 10 and it worked and showed us another side to our game."
Roberts and Squire combined to give Ilfracombe the lead after 18 minutes, with the former bursting into the box from the left wing before lifting a ball to the back post for Squire to hook into the back of the net.
The Bluebirds doubled their lead from the penalty spot seven minutes later after Alfie Moulden was brought down by goalkeeper Brandon Milford. Roberts stepped up and converted the spot-kick to the keeper's right.
The hosts didn't add to their lead until the second half, but soon took the game away from the visitors with a couple of quick-fire goals.
Squire got his second of the game 45 seconds in the second period, volleying in at the back post from Moulden's corner. The veteran striker turned provider two minutes later by lifting a ball to the back post for Roberts to head in.
The Bluebirds did not let up as the half progressed. Stephens added the fifth after 65 minutes with a dink over Milford, and Bithell was on target five minutes later with a well taken finish after bursting in behind the Sidmouth backline.
Roberts completed his hat-trick with 15 minutes remaining when he snuck in at the back post, and he almost added a spectacular fourth minutes later only to see his overhead kick in the penalty area come back off the crossbar.
Sidmouth grabbed their consolation goal with four minutes remaining with a shot squeezed under Jamie Matthews.