By Kevin Marriott at Waterways Stadium


Saltash United 4 Street 0

THE future looks very bright at Saltash if Saturday’s excellent performance and result is anything to go by.

Young striker Joe Preece, playing in his first season at this level, bagged himself a hat-trick from a brilliant individual contribution.

And 16-year-old Jack Jefford, making his first senior start, looked way beyond his tender years as he ran the Street defence ragged alongside Preece and was given a rousing round of applause when he was substituted 19 minutes from time.

The Ashes, who had been poor when losing 2-0 to Ilfracombe on Thursday night, came out of the blocks on fire and Preece was denied a third minute goal as the Street keeper raced to the edge of his penalty area to tackle him.

But it only took another three minutes for Preece to break the deadlock, bringing down the ball on the edge of the area, beating a defender and firing a fierce shot into the far corner of the net.

Jefford was then denied in the 20th minute by a good save from the keeper and two minutes later Preece’s pass inside saw Jack Kelsey fire a right foot shot which hit the underside of the bar and bounced away to safety.

But the Ashes made it 2-0 on the half hour with a penalty from Preece after Jefford had been upended by the most obvious of trips.

It was 3-0 seven minutes into the second half when a corner when Jefford’s right wing cross was only half cleared and Tyler Yendle, standing in the ‘D’ of the area, crashed a superb shot into the net.

But Preece made it 4-0 and completed his hat-trick, in the 66th minute when he ran on to a long ball, outpacing a defender before firing it into the net.

Substitute Tom Huyton lifted a shot over the bar from six yards after excellent work by outstanding left-back Ethan Wright as the Ashes finished as strongly as they had started.

Manager Macca Brown said: “It was an excellent display, full of everything that was lacking on Thursday night really – energy, dynamism, excitement, it was a good response.

“It’s funny, you look at the schedule and think a game 36 hours after your previous one would only go one way, but we looked much fresher than we did on Thursday and got the win, and seemingly it was similar for both Torpoint and Ilfracombe last week, who got wins in games 36 hours after a disappointing result.

“Maybe it’s a sign of how much more you can get from yourself when you have something to react to despite the odds being against you. 

“Either way, the lads were fantastic, with Joe Preece leading the way with a hat trick. He’s been magnificent for us this season. 

“It’s a big jump from the St Piran League, where he was scoring plenty of goals last season, but playing that level and working your way up can also do you the world of good. 

“Sometimes young players are in a rush to play as high as they can as soon as they can, and whilst that ambition can be applauded, as a striker especially it’s important to go and score goals, find your finishes and get lots of chances, and that’s what he’s done.”

SALTASH UNITED: Jordan Duffey; Ben Goulty, Ethan Wright, Ed Goodman (Tom Huyton 66), Tom Badcott, Tyler Yendle (Nick Salop 71), Tylor Love-Holmes, Josh Toulson, Jack Jefford (Jake Curtis 75), Jake Kelsey (Laurence Murray 78), Joe Preece (Ryan Knight 77). Saltash United man of the match: Joe Preece.