CHARLIE Cope struck a first-half hat-trick as Rocester Wasps maintained their unbeaten run in 2014 with a thumping victory over Barton Rovers Spartans.
After a tentative opening, Max Hunt and Kieran Swinson combined well to produce a few good half chances in the opening minutes.
The Wasps midfield of Henry Wallace, Ben Simon, Archie Hill and Matthew Flanagan were first to every ball and really took control.
In the 10th minute some great interchange play between Hunt, Swinson and Wallace saw Hunt just pull his shot agonisingly wide of the Barton post.
A deserved lead arrived in the 18th minute. Cope (pictured) chased a hopeful long ball from Magnus Brown before smashing the ball past the helpless Barton keeper from an acute angle with his first touch.
Five minutes later Wallace collected the ball on halfway and dribbled past two players before delivering a glorious ball from the by-line.
And the onrushing Cope stroked home for a fine goal.
At the back George Walker and Brown were in imperious form, giving goalkeeper Jenson Bosworth nothing to do.
Two minutes before the break a Brown long ball was chased down by Swinson.
His cross was headed towards goal by Cope and the ball found the net via a deflection.
The second half began with Rocester still dominant, but finding the Barton defence more resolute.
Chances fell to Hunt, Cope and Swinson but they could not add to the score.
In their one chance, Barton caught the Wasps on the counter and a cross evaded the clutches of keeper Bosworth – but the goal-bound effort was cleared off the line by Brown.
It was not until the 20th minute of the second half that Rocester added to their tally.
Ethan Archer collected the ball in the centre of the pitch and found Hunt down the right.
He then cut inside his man and curled a sublime effort into the far corner of the net from the edge of the box.
The Wasps had further opportunities to score and even won a penalty in the final few minutes for handball following Wallace’s corner.
Ben Simon stepped up and saw his spot-kick saved.
The kick was retaken due to the keeper being off his line.
But Simon could not cap his impressive performance with a goal, as his second effort struck the post and went wide.