At 3.16pm on Saturday 11th January 2014 the Blyth fans stood in awe as young striker Dan Maguire was mobbed by his teammates having just rifled home his 1st hat trick for the club, the sheer quickness of the hat trick had the Blyth fans scratching their heads as to whether his 3 in 11 minutes was the fastest hat trick ever for the club.
Showing just how short a memory supporters have, Maguire’s stunning 11 minute hat trick turned out to not even be the quickest by a current player!, team-mate Craig Hubbard beat that by 6 minutes on October 19th 2013, however another team-mate had also bettered Dan’s feat some 8 years earlier.
Craig Hubbard’s modern-day record of a 10 minute hat trick in the 6-0 FA Trophy victory over Skelmersdale United was even more special in it being a ‘perfect hat trick’, scoring with his left foot, right foot and completing it with a header !.
It was Craig’s 2nd hat trick in a week having scored 3 in the first half’s of Blyth’s see saw 3-4 league defeat at Skelmersdale the previous Saturday.
Craig had even scored in the game in between the Skelmersdale double-header, the midweek victory over Ilkeston but despite scoring hat tricks on consecutive Saturday’s couldn’t match the late great Scott Bell’s feat of hat tricks in consecutive games in 2006.
Scott scored in the 5-1 win over Witton Albion on 28th January then 7 days later in the 3-2 win at Ashton United.
Craig Hubbard’s hat trick was the quickest since Robbie Dale fired 3 in the 6-0 Conference North hammering of Worcester City in April 2006.
However long serving fans favourite Robbie Dale still holds the record of scoring the quickest hat trick directly from the kick off, beating Dan Maguire’s by 2 minutes when he achieved the feet in 14 minutes as Blyth raced into a 4-0 lead after only 14 minutes.
Robbie now stands on 5 hat trick’s for the club, his 1st famously came on his debut in a 5-2 win against Wakefield-Emley back in Match 2005.
Robbie’s 14 minute hat trick had almost been bettered in March 2011 when Paul Brayson hit a 17 minute hat trick in a 6-2 victory at Vauxhall Motors, a victory all the more astounding as the Spartans came from 0-2 down! to marked the clubs 200th game on the Conference North in style.
Brayson’s other hat trick for the Spartans had come in April 2010 as Blyth beat Harrogate 5-2 at Weatherby Road, he almost set a new record when he scored twice in a minute (18th & 19th) but was forced to wait until the 74th minute to complete the hat trick.
In between Brayson’s 2 hat tricks attacking midfielder Stephen Turnbull scored his 1 and only hat trick for the club in his 102 appearances during the 4-0 victory over North Shields in the Northumberland Senior Cup on 23rd November 2010. Another attacking midfielder, Michael Tait scored his first goal for the club to set up his 3 against Ossett Albion on 26th September 2009 in the 7-1 FA Cup win.
Hat tricks before Robbie’s famous debut had been few and far between, Graham Fenton bagged one on his 2nd appearance for the club in a 5-0 win at Spennymoor United in August 2003, that came 3 years after the previous one by Glen Robson in the 3-5 FA Cup defeat at Leigh RMI in September 1999.
There was a few in the late 90’s, in November 1998 Wayne Edgecumbe scored his only hat trick for the club in a 3-1 win at Marine but that was well over a year since Steph McGargle scored 3 on his loan debut for the club back in February 1997 in the 3-2 win over Runcorn, that season saw 5 hat tricks scored (3 by Stu Young and 1 each for Steve Pyle & Willie Moat).
Joining the ‘hat trick club’ for the Spartans this season puts Dan Maguire & Craig Hubbard into a group contain some famous old Spartans, the aforementioned Steve Pyle scored a staggering 15 hat tricks between April 1987 and November 1996, (2 of those hat trick which came within a 4 goal haul against Hebburn in February 1994 and a 5 goal tally against Ryhope CA in January 1988, which included 4 in 20 minutes). Steve’s fastest hat trick came on 19th September 1992 when he hit 3 in 11 minutes in the 3-1 win at Easington.
Steve Cuggy scored 4 during his 1 prolific 1990/91 season at Croft Park, which included a 13 minute hat trick on the 7-0 hammering of South Bank on 13th October. His 1st came courtesy of a last minute penalty in the 5-2 League Cup win at West Auckland on 28th August then followed it up with another in the very next game, in the 3-0 win over Stockton Town. That season also saw striker Gary McDonald hit the fastest of the 90’s when he smashed a 9 minute hat trick in the 4-1 League Cup win at home to Ashington.
The fastest recorder hat trick in the 70’s came in the 6-1 thrashing of Annan Athletic in the FA Amateur Cup game at Croft Park on 11th September 1971, when Micky Lister fired a 5 minute hat trick scoring in the 80th, 81st & 85th minutes.
While other famous former Blyth strikers only just made it into the ‘club’ such as Richie Bond who surprisingly only scored 1 hat trick in November 1996 during the 4-0 victory FA trophy over Accrington Stanley back.
A more obscure single hat trick for the Spartans came from former Middlesbrough striker Billy Woof who only played 5 times in 1982/83 and managed to score 4 goals including a hat trick in a 4-1 win at Ferryhill Athletic.
Woof left Blyth to sign for Cardiff City scoring 88th minute winner against Wigan Athletic on his debut, but then had a disagreement with manager Len Ashurst and signed for Hull City after only 1 appearance.
One surprising omission from the Spartans ‘hat trick club’ is Alan Shoulder, who despite the goal scoring prowess for Bishop Auckland that brought home to Croft Park and then his form as a Spartans earning him the dream move to Newcastle United, he never got a hat trick as Blyth player. Alan did come close on 5 different occasions in which he scored a brace but never got that elusive 3rd goal.
The list of players who have scored a hat trick for the club reads like a who’s who of great Blyth strikers, it gives up some interesting statistics like Steve ‘Jos’ Jones scoring the 1st of his 3 on his debut in the last game of 1976/77 season.
Jos signed for his hometown club having been playing for the Golden Eagle Pub in the Blyth & Wansbeck Sunday League and marked his arrival with a fine hat trick on the 30th April 1977 in the 4-2 win over Willington.
He then scored his 3rd & final hat trick some 9 years later in January 1986 after returning to the club following spells at Blue Star & Whitley Bay.
2 sets of bother have scored hat tricks, the Mutrie brothers scored 6 for the club with both Ian & Les tying on 3 each although Les did manage to score 4 in the 7-2 win at Crook Town in August 1979.
However the Pyke brothers, George & Josh out did the Mutrie brothers on the 11th April 1925 when they both scored 3 in the 9-0 win over Leadgate Park, George actually scored 5 that day.
The last time 2 players both scored hat tricks in the same game was on the 17th August 1985 when Steve Baxter & Tony McFadden scored in the 6-2 win over Billingham Town
There have been a few occasions when players have scored more than 3 in a game 4 goal hauls are quite common, on Boxing Day 1904 Nicky Thompson scored 5 in a 13-0 win over Seaton Burn. He repeated the feat 2 years later scoring another 5 in a 7-1 win over Percy Rovers in the Cairns Cup in April 1906 but bettered that in the September when he scored 7 in a 10-3 romp at Alnwick St James in an East Northumberland League game. Nicky also hit 6 in a 8-0 hammering of Bothal St Andrews 6 months later.
The next player to hit 6 in a game was the influential Peter Mackin in a 9-0 win over Kingston Villa in a Northern Alliance game.
Billy Tucker then scored 7 in a 10-0 mauling of Seaton Delaval in a Northumberland Senior Cup 1st Round tie in January 1930, that 7 was equalled by Lew Nainby in the 11-2 hammering of Stockton on 9th December 1961 in a Northern Counties League game.
Nainby’s record stood for 8 years before the famous Brian Slane hit 7 in the 13-0 Northern League hammering of Stanley United on 6th December 1969 and that remains the highest current haul from a Spartan.
The closest a player has come to it surprisingly was a midfielder, when in April 1974 Mick Dagless hit 5 (including 1 penalty) in a 6-1 victory over Willington, Steve Pyle was the next player to score 5 in a 7-1 win at Ryhpoe CA in January 1988.
In February 2016 Wilson Kneeshaw became the 1st Spartan to score 5 at Croft Park in 42 years when he scored all the goals in a 5-0 Northen Premier League win over Skelmersdale United.
Unsurprisingly the leading hat trick scorers list is topped by some of the clubs most prolific scorer:
Steve Pyle – 15
Brian Slane – 14
Tommy Orrick – 12
(includes 3 consecutive hat tricks)
Johnny Langland – 10
(includes 2 consecutive hat tricks)
Billy Readman – 9
Jeff Hunter – 8
(includes 2 consecutive hat tricks and
also 3 consecutive 4 goal hauls)
George Pyke – 8
Nicky Thompson – 8
Robbie Dale – 6
Gordon Luke – 6
Mick Dagless – 5
Dan Maguire – 5
The honour of scoring the club’s 1st ever hat trick will have to go to Roger Patton who achieved the feat on 1st March 1902 in Blyth’s 8-0 Northumberland League win over Seaton Deleval, however there are only 8 results in the clubs long history where it hasn’t been possible to find the scorers. 5 of these took place before Patton bagged his hat trick so the honour of the 1st ever hat trick by default will have to go to Roger Patton.
The 1st hat trick scored for the reformed Blyth Spartans AFC was by the prolific Jeff Hunter. He scored 4 in the 8-1 win at Newbiggin Welfare on 11th September 1946, he scored 3 successive hat tricks in a club record run of scoring in 10 successive games, the 3 hat tricks were actually within 3 successive 4 goal hauls.
He also scored 5 in the 11-0 win at Prudhoe East Park and then went 1 better scoring all 6 in the 6-3 win at North Shield on 6th April 1947.
Jeff scored 63 goals in 37 games that season and still remains the highest scorer in 1 single season for the club despite Prudhoe East Park having their record expunged leaving him with 58 goals.
The first hat trick for the club after it turned amateur in 1964, was scored by Jim Campbell when he bagged all 4 in the 4-1 FA Amateur Cup win over University of Newcastle.
The 100th hat trick was scored by Leslie Harris on 22nd January 1938 in a 6-3 North Eastern League home victory over Workington, the 200th was scored on 23rd October 1971 by Mick Lister in the 8-1 demolition of Consett.
Dan Maguire’s hat trick was the 294th scored by a Blyth player, he was the 128th different Spartan to score a hat trick for the club and as the records clearly show he’s now in the company of some clubs great goal scorers.
Watch Dan Maguire’s stunning 16 minute hat trick:
- Credits, Acknowledgments & Thank you’s:
Ken Sproat, for his work in collating the records of Blyth Spartans and for the use of images.
Kevin Tilmouth, Jeff Young & Martin Hunter for their help with information of hat tricks by Blyth players.
Bill Broadley, for the original pictures of Dan Maguire & Craig Hubbard’s goals.