A MARTIN Gadsby hat-trick saw Uttoxeter Town return to action after two weeks off with a routine victory over Abbey Hulton at the newly redeveloped Oldfields ground.
The Town captain gave his side the lead just after the half-hour mark, and doubled it within six minutes of the start of the second period.
He then ensured the match ball was his, and Kyle Esplin completed the rout before a late consolation.
The hosts, who marked the day with a ground grading visit ahead of their application for promotion to level six, were at full strength for their last home game of the season.
Mark Springall again partnered Lee Bagley at centre-half with Rob Collins preferred to Chris Richards on the left of the back four.
Mark Hodson, Liam Sowter, Gadsby and Esplin were deployed in midfield, with Matty Redshaw and Tommy Smith paired in attack.
And it was Smith who nearly gave the hosts an early lead, the prolific forward volleying a superb effort towards the roof of the net from a half-cleared Collins corner, but the ball was superbly headed away by the covering defender.
Smith and Redshaw were working well in tandem and it appeared only a matter of time before the deadlock would be broken, and the first goal duly arrived on 31 minutes.
Another perfectly flighted Rob Collins corner was met by skipper Gadsby, who rose highest to head home from eight yards.
Abbey Hulton were by no means a walkover though, and the impressive Alex Langridge had to be alert on two occasions to deny the visitors an equaliser.
Both chances came from good Town possession that was surrendered, but the hosts went in at the interval with the advantage.
Perhaps knowing that Uttoxeter’s confidence had been knocked in recent weeks after a few disappointing performances, Abbey came out looking to grab an equaliser at the start of the second period.
However, Gadsby’s second goal of the game six minutes after the break gave the league leaders some breathing space.
Collins was again the provider, floating another superb set piece to the far post where Gadsby crashed home a header for his 11th of the season.
With Town well in the ascendancy and the confidence starting to flood back, the flowing football which had been so evident in the first six months of the season slowly started to return.
The excellent Smith teed up Gadsby for his hat-trick, but the midfielder sliced his effort well wide from 18 yards.
The Town captain was not to be denied though, and when Redshaw and Smith combined superbly again to set up Gadsby, he hammered home his hat-trick goal from 16 yards.
Bagley and Springall were dominating in defence and it was no surprise when the fourth arrived for Town on 70 minutes as Esplin burst through on goal and hammered in a fine finish from 18 yards to seal the victory.
A late consolation from Hulton’s striker denied Langridge a deserved clean sheet but even that was not enough to take the gloss off a fine day for Uttoxeter.
Kidsgrove provide the opposition at the Seddon Stadium on Saturday, kick-off 2.30pm, as Town begin their run of seven consecutive away matches.
Dove Accountants man of the match: Martin Gadsby – grabbed a hat-trick for the hosts
Town: Langridge, Woods (Price 76), Bagley, Springall, Collins (Richards 76), Sowter, Gadsby, Esplin, Hodson (Crookes 78), Smith, Redshaw.