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HELLENIC LEAGUE: Plaudits for 'unselfish' Gambling
FAIRFORD boss Paul Braithwaite hailed ‘unselfish’ Nathan Gambling for relinquishing penalty duties for the second week in a row.
The Reds striker allowed Jack Allan to complete his hat-trick from the spot late on in the 4-1 victory over Easington in Hellenic League Division One West.
Seven days earlier, the forward had stepped aside in an attempt to let Callum Parsons complete his treble against Carterton, an opportunity that Parsons spurned. However, on this occasion Gambling’s decision paid off as Allan found the net.
“For our top goalscorer in the league to do that, it shows what he’s about,” said Braithwaite. “He’s our penalty taker and he gave one up last week so that Callum Parsons could try and get his hat-trick, which was very unselfish of him.
“He’s not lacking confidence taking penalties, he just showed what a great team player he is.”
Allan put Fairford 2-0 up at the break against Easington before Dan Bailey extended the advantage following the resumption. Ben Milner pulled one back for the visitors but after Steve Hall was brought down in the box in the closing minutes, Allan completed his hat-trick.
“You could see from the first 10 or 15 minutes of the game that we’d probably be OK,” continued Braithwaite.
“They are quite an experienced side but no disrespect, they probably lack a little bit of fitness. For us it was about making sure we got early goals and did the job in the first half so we didn’t need to chase the game.
“They created a few chances but our keeper was in fine form and two well-taken goals gave us the lead at half-time.
“The team talk was just the normal 2-0 half-time team talk – don’t concede the next goal – and we scored the third. They put us under pressure for a few minutes and scored a goal that could have been prevented, but it didn’t matter in the end.”
Although seventh in the table and seven points of top spot, Fairford have games in hand on those above them and Braithwaite is still positive on his team’s prospects of challenging for the title.
“Saturday’s result is positive and keeps our little unbeaten run going. That’s four games in all competitions with two of those games in the league,” he said.
“We’ve left a little bit of a gap between ourselves and Easington and North Leigh reserves below us.
“There’s a gap of seven points between us and the two top teams in the league now, but we’ve got a couple of games in hand.
“We aren’t looking at it any other way (than in terms of contending for the title), we’ve had a hell of a start to the season.
“We’ve played Premier teams in different cups and played three of the top four teams in the league. We haven’t really played anyone in the bottom half apart from Carterton.”
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