It is always a special moment when a player bangs in the third and walks off at the end of the game proudly clutching the matchball. However, the hat-trick remains quite a rare sight at any level of football, from the Blue Square Bet Premier, right up to the Champions League and World Cup.
Being a Wolves fan, I don’t see many goals, let alone a hat-trick. The last one we had was when Sylvan Ebanks-Blake scored three during a 3-3 draw with Norwich back in February 2009. So, when we were treated to no less than seven hat-tricks in the English leagues this weekend, I had to look on with envy. Here’s how and where they went in around the country.
Wayne Rooney: West Ham 2-4 Manchester United
Probably the most infamous hat-trick so far this season. With West Ham leading 2-0 at half-time, things looked bleak for United. Rooney superbly curled in a free-kick to reduce the deficit, before equalising with a powerful finish. He fired in a penalty to complete his hat-trick and put United ahead. However, the occasion was marred when Rooney was caught swearing into the camera after his third goal – an incident that could see him punished by the FA.
Now, one hat-trick in a match is rare, but two in the same match is almost unheard of. Scunthorpe visited Carrow Road with new manager Alan Knill in charge for the first time since he joined from Bury. However, it turned into a game he will want his side to forget quickly. Grant Holt fired in early on, before a penalty and a close range finish saw him complete his treble. Substitute Simeon Jackson, who had not scored since October, then entered the fray. Within minutes, he had robbed a defender and slotted in his first, before firing in a second from close range. He completed an unlikely double of trebles when he tapped in his third goal late on.
Yakubu: Middlesbrough 3-3 Leicester
The classic saying that your former players will come back to score against you again proved true when Leicester visited the Riverside. The striker, on loan from Everton, tapped in early on and struck his second just before half-time. He completed his hat-trick minutes after half-time when he sprinted clear and coolly slotted in against his former employers. However, the joy was short-lived, as Boro grabbed a late equaliser to dent Leicester’s play-off push.
Clayton Donaldson and Joel Grant: Crewe 8-1 Cheltenham
You wait for one game with two hat-tricks, then two come along at once (can’t see that saying catching on to be honest). Clayton Donaldson fired in either side of a Shaun Miller strike, before Joel Grant made it 4-0 before the break. Donaldson completed his treble from the penalty spot, before Grant slotted in and then powered in a late penalty (won by Donaldson) to secure a hat-tick of his own. The only question is, who gets to keep the match ball?
Steve Kabba: Burton 1-4 Barnet
Martin Allen has returned to manage Barnet, and has seemed to have made an instant impact at Underhill. After going 1-0 down at fellow strugglers Burton, things looked bleak for Barnet – step forward journeyman striker Steve Kabba. He powered in just after half-time to equalise, before superbly lobbing in a second to put Barnet 2-1 up. He completed his hat-trick from the penalty spot, before going one better than our other hat-tricks heroes when he bundled in a fourth late on.
So there we have it, 22 goals from just seven players in one weekend of football. The hat-trick used to be known as an endangered species in the world of football, but, after this weekend, it seems we could be seeing them on quite a regular basis. So, fans of Fernando Torres and Edin Dzeko, fear not. Maybe their first hat-trick could be just around the corner, they just need to take shooting lessons from the likes of Steve Kabba and Joel Grant first.