STUART Rudd made no apologies for a bizarre hat-trick goal which would have had England goalkeeper Paul Robinson laughing up his sleeve.
The FC United striker moved to the top of the North West Counties League goalscoring charts as the Rebels blitzed Squires Gate 8-0 to equal their biggest winning margin.
But his third goal, and FC’s seventh, brought criticism from the Blackpool team, who claim he took advantage of the unwritten rule on returning the ball to the opposition after treatment to an injured player.
Rudd did that, aiming his throw-in back to visiting goalkeeper Peter Summerfield. He picked it up and inexplicably threw it, with backspin, outside his own area, as if he believed a free-kick had been awarded. Rudd saw his opportunity and raced onto the ball, running it into the empty net.
The Squires Gate manager complained to FC boss Karl Marginson, but it was clearly a case of the keeper – dubbed “Rambo” by the home support due to his powerful build and head band – not keeping his mind on the game.
Rudd was unrepentant: “I was called for making a mockery of throwing the ball back, but it was more a case of their keeper not concentrating. He picked the ball up and for some reason threw it out, so I just went for it.
“I have gone three games without scoring once this season, so you have to take every chance.”
Marginson said: “Their manager isn’t happy about it, but Stuart is a goalscorer, and if someone rolls the ball to him like that, he will just go and score. If our keeper Sam Ashton had done that, I certainly wouldn’t be having a go with the scorer.
“I think their keeper was too busy enjoying the banter with our support behind the goal.”
Rudd’s hat-trick, which took him to 21 goals for the season, was outshone by his strike partner Rory Patterson who hit four in the first half to send FC 10 points clear at the top.