ROCESTER Wasps hammered struggling Whittington Lasers 4-1 as they maintained their excellent form ahead of the cup final against Hilton Harriers Jets.
Charlie Cope grabbed a hat-trick in the Burton & District Junior League Under-11 Division One demolition on Saturday.
Wasps started the better in midfield, with Ethan Archer and Ben Simon taking control centrally, while Matthew Flanagan and Archie Hill kept Whittington’s dangerous wide midfielders largely quiet.
The game began to follow a pattern with Cope and Kieran Swinson pulling apart the visiting defence through their sheer pace.
Within five minutes Rocester were 1-0 up when a long ball from defence by Magnus Brown found Cope just inside the opposition half and he raced clear down the right before slotting the ball away into the opposite corner.
Defensively, Wasps were once again dominant with Brown and George Walker giving the opposition no time on the ball and offering up very few opportunities.
Meanwhile, up front Swinson was working really hard and produced a hat full of great chances for Cope to double the lead but his shots were off target or saved.
Wasps came to rue some of those missed opportunities when they lost the ball in central midfield and Whittington’s right midfielder found himself free.
He just slipped past Brown and fired his shot away.
Jenson Bosworth made a good save but could not hang onto the ball and Whittington knocked it into the back of the net.
With five minutes of the half remaining, Rocester had a great chance to regain their lead when a Swinson corner was brilliantly met at the near post by Brown and his header agonisingly struck the far post and was scrambled clear.
However, moments before the break Wasps took the lead again with almost a carbon copy of their first, with a Brown ball finding Cope, who showed the Whittington defence a clean pair of heels before smashing the past the on-rushing keeper.
At the break Rocester were 2-1 up but could have been out of sight if their chances had been put away.
The second period was similar to the first with Wasps now far more secure in midfield, with Hill working particularly well against his tricky winger and Simon winning the ball in central areas.
They were still making some great chances – Swinson showed some superb skill turning his defender inside and out on the edge of the penalty area but his shot lacked power and failed to beat the keeper.
Midway through the half Cope completed his hat-trick when he latched onto a Brown through ball and raced free before rifling his shot past the keeper to make it 3-1.
Defensively, Rocester were offering very little to Whittington.
The only chance of note in the second period was a long range free kick but Bosworth had it covered.
With a few minutes remaining a Ben Simon ball was seized upon by Swinson and the striker stepped inside his marker and drilled a shot past the helpless Whittington keeper for a deserved goal.
Man of the match: Kieran Swinson – an energetic, committed performance full of pace, determination and skill.