Hat-trick hero Leon Ottley-Gooch’s premonition

HAT-TRICK hero Leon Ottley-Gooch told his team mates he would score a hat-trick prior to doing so as Leiston clinched promotion to the Ryman League Premier Division.

Ottley-Gooch struck three times in six second-half minutes as Leiston overpowered Potters Bar Town 6-0 at Victory Road on Tuesday night to win the Division One North title.

The 24-year-old midfielder, who had never previously scored a hat-trick in senior football, said: “I can’t quite believe it – I am completely lost for words.

“Before the game I was really buzzing in the changing room and I was so up for it that I said I was going to get a hat-trick!”

Ottley-Gooch admitted his first goal, when he went in for a tackle on the edge of the Potters Bar penalty area and the ball cannoned into the bottom corner of the net, was the “luckiest” he had ever scored.

Before joining Leiston three years ago Ottley-Gooch was playing for Whitton United in Division One of the Ridgeons League, and he reflected: “It has been a sharp rise.

“If you had told me when I was at Whitton that I would be standing here talking to you now after winning promotion to the Ryman Premier, I would not have believed it.”

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Ottley-Gooch and his team mates are now looking forward to the challenge of Step 3 football next season.

“I thought we gave Bury Town a decent game in the semi-final of the Suffolk Premier Cup (Leiston lost on penalties after a 1-1 draw) and proved we can mix it with them, so hopefully next season we can push on,” he added.

Ottley-Gooch received special praise after the game from manager Mark Morsley, who said: “He was unplayable in the second half. What a player that boy could be – he is so athletic.”

Morsley also spoke of his pride in his team after seeing them claim the Ryman League Division One North title.

He said: “The team deserve this. I am so proud of them. The Ryman Premier is a good level of football and I am really pleased we will be playing in the league next season.”

Morsley said a change of formation was the key to Leiston’s second-half display which saw them swamp their visitors with four unanswered goals, including Ottley-Gooch’s quickfire hat-trick.

“I picked an attacking side, playing two up front, and although we were winning 1-0 we were in trouble as they had a lot of the ball.

“We went back to our usual system of one upfront and two wingers. The second goal was important, and we needed the half-time break to give instructions to the players.

“Our emphasis was to get our wingers in more dangerous areas of the pitch, and that made a big difference.”