Achilles striker Liam Hillyard on his hat-trick in five minutes and title ambitions

Liam Hillyard scored a hat-trick in just five minutes for Achilles on Saturday. Picture: STEVE WALLE

Liam Hillyard scored a hat-trick in just five minutes for Achilles on Saturday. Picture: STEVE WALLER - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Athletes often talk about being ‘in the zone.’ Well, Liam Hillyard certainly was last weekend!

The Achilles striker notched a hat-trick in five minutes as his side crushed previously unbeaten Coplestonians 7-0 - with all the goals coming in the first half!

For comparison, Sadio Mane holds the record for quickest Premier League hat-trick - he bagged a triple in just two minutes 56 seconds against Aston Villa back in 2015.

The fastest treble in English football belongs to James Hayter, who struck three for Bournemouth against Wrexham in two minutes and 20 seconds in February 2004.

“It’s certainly the quickest I’ve ever scored, and I’ve not heard of quicker,” said the hitman. “I definitely felt like I was in the zone. You don’t think about what’s happening, you just react – when a chance comes, you just take it.

“I didn’t even realise it was that quick! The first was a cross from the right which bounced up and I put it over the keeper’s head, the second was a one-one-one with the keeper and the third was a turn and shoot from the edge of the area with my weaker foot, which was nice.

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“We thought it would be a really tough game so we went into it really fired up – and that showed with the half-time score!”

The big win further cemented Achilles’ red hot start this season – they’ve won five from five and already have a goal difference of plus 20 as they go in search of the SIL Senior title.

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“I think we have a great team spirit,” said Hillyard, whose brother Luke is Achilles boss. “You can get all the stars in like some teams do, but that doesn’t always work.

“We’ve kept faith with people from last year and kept going. The league is certainly achievable this year, we always have a fighting chance.

“We always seem to finish second, so hopefully this will be our year!”

Achilles travel to AFC Hoxne this weekend, who sit ninth with two wins, two draws and three defeats from their first seven matches.

“We always go into games expecting a tough match,” said Hillyard. “They will be really hungry and hard-working, but we expect to win.”

Of his own future, Hillyard, who spent part of last season with Felixstowe & Walton United in the Thurlow Premier, refused to rule out making the step up the leagues again.

“I’ve always been content at Achilles, but if I get an opportunity to play higher I’d give it a try,” he explained. “I’ve never really had a good go at it.”

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