Hat-trick hero Nicky Wroe described himself as ‘absolutely thrilled’ to net the second treble of his career in Preston North End’s win at Scunthorpe last night.
The midfielder had claimed the match ball within the opening 35 minutes at Glanford Park as North End stormed into a 3-0 lead with a superb performance.
Goals from former PNE pair Leon Clarke and Karl Hawley though, brought the scoreline back to 3-2, leaving the visitors to battle out an anxious closing few minutes.
But they held out to claim their third away league victory of the season, setting them up nicely for Saturday’s visit to league leaders Tranmere.
Wroe said: “It feels brilliant to have scored a hat-trick. They don’t come around that much, especially for a midfielder, so I’m absolutely thrilled with it.
“My other one came for Torquay in the FA Cup and that included two penalties, so it was nice that all three came from open play last night.”
Wroe’s opener arrived with just 25 seconds on the clock, then he doubled the advantage in the 28th minute.
He netted the third 10 minutes before the interval – the travelling 246 PNE fans getting a close-up view with the goals coming at their end of the ground.
Said Wroe: “For the first goal, Jack King got a nice flick-on, I timed my run perfectly and managed to stick it away. That got us off to a great start and we managed to build from there.
“The second involved great work from Jack again, he put the ball on a plate for me. When he got the ball out on the right, I gave him a shout to say I was inside and told him to put it over early. He did that and fortunately I got a good contact to take it past the keeper.
“The third was something we’d been working on in training, although it didn’t go quite to plan.
“Scott Laird’s touch at the free-kick rolled just behind me and I had to adjust myself to shoot. That’s seven goals for me this season.
“I got off to a good start, scored a few goals and then dropped off a bit.
“The gaffer had been looking at the statistics and reckoned I wasn’t getting into the box as much as I had been doing.
“In training on Monday he was encouraging me to get into the box again, and that advice paid off.”
PNE boss Graham Westley hailed much of the first-half show as a job superbly done and even when Scunthorpe piled the pressure on after the interval, remained confident of taking the three points.
He said: “The first 35-40 minutes was a joy to watch, it was almost perfect away-day football. We put them to the sword and put on a show.
“Nicky Wroe impressed in the middle and the front two – Jack King and Stuart Beavon – were excellent.
“It was disappointing to concede their first goal and we went into the second half trying to shore things up rather than going on the front foot and trying to get the next goal.
“Even after their second goal and with Steve Simonsen having to make that late save, we never looked like giving away our advantage.”