Bishops Cleeve striker Brad Martin has praised his Mitres teammates for helping him settle into life at Kayte Lane, after netting a hattrick in yesterday’s 5-2 win over Stotfold in the FA Cup.
Martin, who left Hellenic League rivals Longlevens for Cleeve in the summer, scored his new side’s first FA Cup hat-trick since their record breaking 2005/06 season – in which the Mitres got all the way to the 4th Qualifying Round.
Speaking to Severn Sport after the game, Martin said that scoring a hattrick in the FA Cup meant everything to him.
“It was pretty special to score in the FA Cup two years ago and scoring a brace last season for Longlevens was too but scoring a hat-trick does make it that slightly more special. It means everything to me.”
After Stotfold went in front early on at Kayte Lane a Harrison Iddles equalizer and an Elliott Kennedy penalty put the hosts in front going into the break. Stotfold however equalised in the third minute of added time to send the sides in all square.
Two quickfire strikes from Martin just before the hour mark put the Mitres in a commanding position. The first came after the ball fell to the striker and he buried it from 6 yards out. The second came after Martin made a great near post run to convert a cross in from the left.
In stoppage time Martin completed his hattrick after some great work by Jack Watts down the Cleeve right.
Yesterday’s goals mean Martin has now scored four goals in his first three competitive games for Bishops Cleeve and also notched up an assist in their 2-0 win away at Brimscombe & Thrupp during midweek. And Martin gives all the credit to his teammates for helping him settle, whilst acknowledging the importance of keeping up the momentum.
“I think I am settling in well. The boys have been great with me. Obviously I have come in and there are a few other new faces in the changing room but I’d like to say we are all together and everyone is really enjoying it.”
“We have started very well, four points from our first two games and now a win in the FA Cup. It’s a great start. But it’s key that we keep it up, especially if we want to up there come the end of the season. I think between the four of us up front [Elliott Kennedy, Jack Watts, Brad Martin, Ieuan Crowe] we have 9 goals in 3 games. If we keep that up then it should be a great season for the club and the fans.”
With Bishops Cleeve unbeaten in their first three games of the season they move onto a Tuesday night fixture at home against Royal Wootton Bassett Town, a side who have opened their Hellenic Premier campaign with two wins against Gloucestershire based sides after beating Tuffley Rovers and Fairford Town respectively.
Martin will be hoping for a big August Bank Holiday weekend as Bishops Cleeve will now be facing North Greenford United in the Preliminary Round of the FA Cup on Saturday 25th August, before Martin returns to Saw Mills with his new side to take on Longlevens. We couldn’t resist a quick look ahead to that game and asked Martin his feelings ahead of the return.
“Of course it is always nice to play against people you know. Despite their results Longlevens have started the season pretty well. I have heard they are playing some good football so I am sure they will be disappointed to only have one point from their opening two games. Especially after being 2-0 up in the 88th minute on the opening day only to draw as well as scoring an own goal to lose to Lydney.”
“But they are a team that defend well, work hard and we have got to match them with our work rate and focus on what we can do with the ball. If we do that then we will be hard to beat. However I won’t be giving it too much thought as we have some big games coming up starting with Wootton Bassett on Tuesday.”
Bishops Cleeve have two big fixtures in the next week as they welcome joint table toppers Royal Wootton Bassett Town to Kayte Lane on Tuesday 14th August (19:45 kick off), before a trip to pre-season title favourites Wantage Town on Saturday 18th August (15:00 kick off).