Karim Rendall bags second fastest hat-trick in competitive British football
ROMAN Glass St George striker Karim Rendall is celebrating a probable football first thanks to a remarkable rapid-fire hat-trick at the weekend.
His team were looking dead and buried at 3-1 down at home to bottom side Wellington in the Toolstation Western League First Division when Rendall, who had played a full 90 minutes to little effect, embarked on a stunning goalscoring spree in stoppage time to win the game for Saints.
With fewer than two minutes left of the three extra minutes awarded by referee Martin Underhay, Karim, 26, who lives in St George, suddenly found his shooting boots.
He struck first with his right foot to reduce the arrears, then with his head to level up at 3-3, before steering an angled left-footed finish into the corner of the net to put the boot into poor Wellington and clinch three points for his ecstatic team.
Rendall, an employee of local firm Ashman's Removals, said: "It's funny because I'd started the game on the left wing and was only put up front for the last 15 minutes as I'd taken a knock to the Achilles on my right foot.
"I was quite pleased to get a goal back as it made the scoreline more respectable, but then we won the ball back straight from the restart and I managed to get on the end of Jamie Johnson's ball with my head.
"I asked the ref how long was left and he said 'one minute', and I can't explain what it felt like when Jamie sent another long ball my way and I managed to find the corner of the net with the finish. I must have scored about ten hat-tricks in my career, but nothing will ever rival that."
That amazing treble came within a 96-second burst according to the Dorset official's watch, just six seconds more than the quickest hat-trick recorded in competitive British football. That came from Tommy Ross, who claimed his triple in the space of 90 seconds while playing in a Highland League match for Ross County against Nairn County on November 28, 1964, when just 18.
The fastest hat-trick in English Football League history is credited to Bournemouth's James Hayter, who struck three times within two minutes and 20 seconds after he came on as an 84th-minute substitute in the Cherries' 6-0 thumping of Wrexham in 2004. That feat was missed by his parents, who had left the game early to board the last ferry back to the Isle of Wight.
Yet, it is the fact former Mangotsfield United marksman Rendall's treble came courtesy of his right foot, his left foot and his head – a 'perfect' hat-trick as it is known in football – that makes his exploits on Saturday so unique. And because it happened at semi-professional level and the 96 seconds have been officially confirmed by referee Underhay and his two assistants, the exploits will certainly be given historical credence.
Roman Glass co-boss and chairman Roger Hudd, whose association with the club spans five decades, said: "I have never experienced anything like it in my life; no one present at the game had.
"It's such a phenomenal and unique achievement at this level of football and I'd imagine at any competitive level of the game.
"The referee got in touch with us later to say, 'you realise this is something special'.
Saints vice-chairman Rob Fidkin said: "The more I think about it, the more I wonder how it could have happened. I was spellbound and it's something none of us there will forget."
That special hat-trick didn't happen to be Rendall's first of the campaign – the Saints hot-shot bagged a triple haul for his team in a 4-1 victory over Welton Rovers in August.