Teenage kicks - 17-year-old scores a hat-trick in only his second Tigers game
PUBLISHED: 14:59 06 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:59 06 January 2020
Teenager Josh Lukin made a memorable start to 2020 when his hat-trick earned Axminster Town a 3-3 draw at Holsworthy in the South West Peninsula League Premier East.
In an end-to-end game, the lead swapped hands on three occasions with neither team enjoying more than a one-goal advantage at any point.
Having bounced back from a goal down to 2-1, the Tigers were left to rue a goalkeeping error which saw a long kick from the Holsworthy goalkeeper bounce over the Tigers' keeper before being finished off by the home side's striker.
Undeterred, Axminster restored their slender advantage but were pegged back in the dying stages of the game.
Manager Josh Stunnel said he was 'delighted' with his players and highlighted the impact of a few returning players. He said: "I thought we showed a lot of character in bouncing back from our thumping [a 9-0 defeat to Cullompton] the other week. We had a couple of lads back in and we just worked harder. We got back to doing the things we know we are good at."
Stunnel was particularly impressed with their ability to adapt to a pitch he described as 'horrific'.
He said: "At 2-1 to us, it looked like only one side would win it, but their goalkeeper has launched one, it's bounced over our keeper's head and their striker has nipped in to score. That deflated us because there was only one team at it at that point.
"They nicked one quite late but we had a great one-on-one opportunity late doors to win which we didn't take."
On the hat-trick hero Lukin, Stunnel described him as a player with a lot of ability and one who would work his socks off.
Next up for the team is a trip to Newton Abbot on Saturday at 3pm.
About that game, Stunell said: "We need to keep the same principles. Go out there and do the things we're good at doing. It starts off with working hard.
"The boys worked harder on Saturday than they have all season and that's why you pick up points."
With the team entering into the second half of the season, Stunnel was asked about his ambitions, and he said: "We're ambitious as ever. I don't want to put pressure on the lads but we go into every game to win it.
"If we can keep a similar performance to Saturday's, I feel we will be a threat to anyone."