NATHAN Minhas marked his return to the Bracknell Town line-up with a hat-trick in their 7-1 thrashing of managerless Staines at Larges Lane on Saturday, writes Dave Wright.

The hot-shot, who has been sidelined for several weeks through injury, scored all of his goals in the first half before being taken off at half-time.

Manager Bobby Wilkinson explained: "Nathan has worked hard to get fit – that's why I left him out for a whole month.

"He deserves a lot of credit for how hard he has worked to get back into the team.

"I thought it was right just to give him 45 minutes. We had the game won and I want to manage him well."

Minhas opened the scoring after 15 minutes when a mix-up in the Staines defence enabled him to stroke the ball into an empty net with keeper Louis Dixon left stranded just inside the penalty area.

Five minutes later, the striker doubled the lead following good work by Max Herbert and he completed his treble on 33 minutes when he followed up after his header had been blocked by Dixon. It was Minhas' 16th league goal of the season, the fourth-highest total in the Isthmian League South Central Division.

Herbert also had a hand in that goal and Robins' skipper netted the fourth himself on 40 minutes with a superbly-struck effort from 22 yards into the top left-hand corner.

The Robins could easily have been more than four up by half-time with Seb Bowerman being denied on three occasions by excellent saves from the over-worked Dixon.

Less than two minutes into the second half, it was 5-0 with Dan Bayliss curling a sweet left-footer past the keeper from near the edge of the area.

Bowerman, showing good control, weaved his way through to score the goal he deserved in the 52nd minute, and it was his corner which led to Bayliss heading home his second and Town's seventh in the 70th minute.

Whilst there were some excellent goals, Town received some assistance from a Staines side whose defending was dreadful at times.

The Swans, who had parted company with manager Martin Kuhl during the week, did manage a consolation goal, an excellent effort from Will Efambe, before Dixon was sent off just before the final whistle after handling the ball outside his area.

It was the first goal Town had conceded in seven league games.

Player-coach Jason Matthews was back between the posts after Mark Scott had suffered an injury to the AC joint in his shoulder when he fell awkwardly in training last week.

He has been dreadfully unlucky with injuries this season and will be sidelined for at least 12 weeks.

There is better news concerning defender Dave Hancock, who has not played for five months due to a serious knee injury. He is back in full training and is expecting to play for Bracknell's Suburban League side this week.

Town's win over Staines leaves them sixth in the table ahead of their trip to eighth-placed Tooting & Mitcham this coming Saturday (3pm).

Their match at Hanwell, postponed a week ago last Saturday, has been re-arranged for Tuesday, March 10 (7.45pm).