Deeping Rangers defeat Holwell Sports in the FA Vase
Will Bird hit the perfect hat-trick to fire Deeping Rangers into the next round of the FA Vase on Saturday.
The Clarets frontman slotted home a goal with each foot in between heading home the second of his treble as Rangers defeated United Counties League Division One side Holwell Sports in the first qualifying round clash at the Haydon Whitham Stadium.
It was the same margin of victory that Rangers had been beaten their lower level visitors in pre-season and Clarets boss Daniel French was pleased with how his side had approached the contest with the win earning them a home tie with Dunkirk in the next round.
French said: "It was a case of telling the lads before the game that, just because we had played them in pre-season, we couldn't take them for granted.
"We went out and worked hard and looked after the ball and also added that bit of quality in the final third.
"We were really good for the first 30 minutes and it was the best we have been this season in that final third.
"Jones De Sousa and Jake Showler were really sharp and Will Bird took his goals really well.
"We looked a threat and that was the difference. It was the next progression for us and something we have been after.
"We haven't quite clicked in the final third yet this season across the games we have had but I thought were really good for those 30 minutes.
"We stepped off it a little bit after that which was natural after going 2-0 up so we spoke about having good habits in the second half.
"We wanted to carry the clean sheet from last week through the match which we've done and I think we've managed the game really well."
The Clarets created a couple of good openings in the early exchanges as Bird headed over when well-placed from an inviting Showler cross.
De Sousa then saw a header tipped over by Ben Challis in the Holwell goal before the visiting custodian made another decent stop to turn away a goabound Jake Brown effort.
The Clarets then struck twice in five minutes to firmly assert their authority on proceedings with Bird opening his account in the 23rd minute.
A fine team move saw De Sousa deliver a cross that the home striker swept home past Challis.
The lead was doubled shortly after with Showler this time the provider as he picked out Bird who guided his header past Challis.
Holwell had their best spell of the game towards the end of the first half and George Bosworth smashed a decent opening over the crossbar after finding space at the back post.
Former Deeping player Harry Allcock then shot wide with just Dan Swan to beat in the home goal before the Clarets responded again.
Challis produced a fantastic fingertip save to deny Bird his hat-trick before the Holwell goalkeeper saved well again to thwart David Burton-Jones from a corner.
Holwell briefly threatened to look for a way back into the contest at the start of the second half with Dan Flack making a crucial block to halt Junior Gaskin's path to goal while Swan was alert to repel an effort from Adcock.
Showler produced another teasing run but saw his clipped cross just drop past the far post before Deeping sealed their win with 12 minutes remaining as Bird completed his hat-trick with a near post finish.
It's now four goals in two games for the summer signing from Blackstones who had netted last week's winner against Melton Town.
Boss French added: "Will missed games in pre-season and when the league started so he's just working his way back.
"He's a massive part of what we do though because a lot goes through him being that focal point.
"He was really good in the second half last week and superb again on Saturday so it's coming and really building."
Rangers return to league action on Tuesday night when they host Leicester Nirvana in the Premier Division North.
Deeping: Swan, Flack, Smith, Burton-Jones, Hunnings, Coulson (Carter), De Sousa, Brown (Banister), Bird, Wilson, Showler (Steele). Subs not used: Walton, Cowles, Bloodworth.