DALE Walker hit a hat-trick for the second successive game as Rhu Amateurs’ Colts team continued their fine start to 2024 with a third victory in a row on Saturday.

The 5-2 win over Glasgow Ansar added to victories chalked up against Rosebank and Burnhill in their previous two weeks as Jamie Kjorstad’s Colts squad cemented their place at the top of Division B of the Glasgow Colleges FA championship.

While Ansar went into the game at Glasgow Green in confident mood, having been unbeaten since the two sides’ last meeting, a 5-1 win for Rhu just before Christmas, the opening period of the game was very scrappy with both teams finding it difficult to get a foothold in the game.

The few early chances that did crop up fell to the visitors, but both Walker and Marty Beaton squandered them.

However 33 minutes in the visitors took the lead when a lovely through hall from McConnell found Dale Walker and the big striker made up for his earlier misses as he coolly knocked the ball over the keeper’s head.

The goal settled the Rhu lads down, and they continued to press the hosts before being awarded a penalty with two minutes of the half remaining; the hosts thought it so dubious that their coach was shown a red card for his protests, but Walker kept his head amid the hullabaloo to despatch the resulting spot-kick.

Any thoughts of an easy ride to half-time were dispelled when Ansar were awarded a penalty of their own in the dying moments of the half after stand-in Rhu keeper Jack Young was caught with the ball at his feet.

 The resulting scramble ended with the ref pointing to the spot – but Young made amends with a terrific save to his right, pushing the ball out for a corner.

However, Ansar’s strong finish to the first half continued into the second, with the hosts reducing the arrears just two minutes after the restart.

And for a while they planted some seeds of doubt in the Rhu players’ minds as they pushed forward – but the visitors defended resolutely, and dealt a hammer blow to Ansar’s hopes on 57 minutes when McConnell released Walker into the far corner, with the big striker doing well to control the ball and cut it back on to his left foot before firing home for his second hat-trick in successive weeks.

Ansar, to their credit, never stopped trying and pulled one back with four minutes left when a speculative cross eluded Young and ended up in the back of the net.

But if there were any jitters in the Rhu camp, they were swiftly dispelled when centre half Adams restored the visitors’ two-goal advantage with a thing of beauty, picking the ball up inside his own half before marching forward unopposed and thundering a fantastic strike into the net via the underside of the crossbar.

And with Ansar now in disarray, Rhu put the icing on the cake in the dying moments with another penalty; with his hat-trick already in the bag, Walker handed the ball to young midfielder Reece Beaton, who rounded off a fine individual and team display by making no mistake from the spot.

Team coach Rob Dawson admitted he was very pleased with the performance, stating: “Once again we had to make changes to the starting eleven but it shows the squads depth that the lads stepped into continue the unbeaten run since the league split.”

Squad: Young, Kjorstad, Adams, Black, Moy, Brown, Moy, R. Beaton, Shields, McConnell, M. Beaton, Walker, Mooney, Dawson, Scullion, Caldow.

This Saturday, February 24, Rhu Colts travel to the south side of Glasgow to face Pollok United in round two of the GCFA Cup. Kick-off at Nethercraigs is at 10am.