Jack Bowen’s hat-trick should not be allowed to hide the fact that Daventry Town made heavy weather of beating BetVictor Southern League whipping boys Wantage Town at Elderstubbs.
Signed earlier this month from AFC Rushden & Diamonds, Bowen headed home the opening goal from close range before converting to penalties in the second half.
The final score was 4-1 but plucky Wantage, still without a point after a dozen Division One Central matches, turned in probably their best display since the opening day.
Only a good save by on-loan Cobblers youth team keeper Bradley Lashley denied Trevor Mutero in the sixth minute although Town danger man Kieran Fitzgerald hit the bar with a cross-cum-shot
The deadlock was broken on the stroke of half-time when Bowen headed home at the far post from a Taylor Orosz cross. Lashley should have done better with that one and it will come as no surprise if Iustin Cerga is recalled for Saturday’s trip to Bedford Town.
Wantage keeper Renell McKenzie-Lyle made several handling errors in the wet conditions and another in the 70th minute caused one of his defenders to handle in the box and Bowen duly converted the ensuing spot-kick.
Town boss Arron Parkinson was given a yellow card for arguing with the referee soon afterwards but the home side added two more goals in the closing stages for a flattering final scoreline.
Aaron King’s solo run extended the lead in the 80th minute before a foul on Adam Confue enabled Bowen to complete his hat-trick with a second penalty a couple of minutes later.
A meagre crowd witnessed a mediocre Town performance. Despite hovering around the play-offs places following back-to-back wins over strugglers St Neots and Wantage, Town will need to step up a gear at Bedford.