James Yates at the treble as Harpenden Town secure important win over North Greenford United

James Yates bagged a hat-trick in Harpenden Town's 4-1 win over North Greenford United.

James Yates bagged a hat-trick in Harpenden Town's 4-1 win over North Greenford United. Picture: Karyn Haddon - Credit: Archant

James Yates was the hat-trick hero as Harpenden Town’s battle to avoid relegation took a massive stride forward.

His treble coupled with a strike from Archie McClelland, completed a 4-1 home win over North Greenford United and moved them above their London visitors in the Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division table.

It was a needed three points with Cockfosters and London Tigers, the two sides directly below Harps also winning.

It keeps them four points clear of the drop zone with 16 games still to go this term.

The victory over North Greenford was only their sixth success so far this season but their third in the last seven games.

And from the very first whistle it always looked like this was going to be a comfortable home win.

Harpenden dominated the first period and could have had much more than just Yates’ deflected effort as they created plenty of good opportunities.

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McClelland’s 11th goal of the campaign, headed home at the far post after a lofted corner in the 48th minute, looked like being the final nail in the coffin for the visitors but to their credit they rallied, having their best spell of the game.

A shot by Ben Gill clipped the top of the crossbar and Andrew Manitou fired just wide.

But with five minutes to go they seemed to set up a nervous finale when substitute Manu Oke-William scored from close range as the Town defence failed to clear the ball.

However, those nerves lasted little more than 60 seconds with Yates getting his second.

He picked up the ball and slalomed around four Greenford defenders before slotting past goalkeeper Keval Patel.

And two minutes later Yates, who had only scored once this season prior to this game, claimed his hat-trick as he was left unmarked in the centre of the United area, allowing him to connect perfectly to a low delivery with a fine volley that gave Patel no chance.