Hot-shot Walker's hat-trick fires Knaresborough Town to home win over Albion Sports
Brad Walker netted a hat-trick as Knaresborough Town beat Albion Sports 3-2 at Manse Lane.
The Boro forward handed his side an early lead in Saturday's NCEL Premier Division encounter, and although the visitors fought back to seize a 2-1 advantage, Walker struck twice more in close succession to decide matters.
A mere 75 seconds had elapsed when Ben Cohen broke clear on to Greg Kidd’s pass down the left and ran forward to cross for Walker to finish first time for 1-0.
Town skipper Will Lenehan saw a header saved by George Clarke and Paul Beesley also forced the Albion goalkeeper into action as Paul Stansfield's troops continued to press.
Walker then broke away again, only to hit his shot marginally too high and see it bounce away off the top of the cross-bar.
Albion rallied briefly, Chris Fairhurst having a strike saved by Liam Corbett, however Boro immediately resonded and Cohen shot wide before Walker again tested Clarke.
After half-time, the visitors pressed with more determination and forced Knaresborough back before equalising in the 59th minute.
Corbett did well initially to save a strike on goal, only to see the ball squirm from his grasp for Lamin Janneh to finish from close range.
In the 64th minute, Sam Cook conceded a second penalty in successive matches and, just as was the case at Hallam in midweek, Corbett saved the spot-kick, this time from Alhassanne Keita, but once again the taker was able to recover and slam the rebound home.
Falling behind proved the fillip which was needed to shake the home side into action and within two minutes, following a throw-in on the right, Walker was quickest to react and was able to steer the ball past Clarke to level the scores.
The initiative was now all with Boro and Walker saw a shot deflected for a corner before he hit a 72nd-minute winner.
Albion only half cleared from their own area and Walker hit a snap shot from 25 yards low and just inside Clarke's left-hand post to the delight of both his colleagues and the Town supporters.
Lenehan then had a header saved and Ben Parkes fired over from distance before the final chance fell at the other end.
Joe Barden headed off-target for the away side, however, and Boro managed to steady themselves, keeping hold of the ball and seeing out time to ensure they took maximum points.
The result keeps the Manse Lane outfit third in the table, just three points behind leaders Yorkshire Amateur but with two games in hand.