Former Hawks and Moneyfields striker Alfie Rutherford fires fifth National League South hat-trick of season as Dorking close in on incredible achievement

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Former Hawks striker Alfie Rutherford fired his FIFTH National League South hat-trick of the season as Dorking Wanderers closed in on a remarkable milestone.

Rutherford struck four times as Dorking maintained their pursuit of NLS table-toppers Maidstone with a 7-2 thrashing of Concord Rangers.

Remarkably, for the fourth time this season the forward - who made his debut in adult football for Moneyfields - netted three times in the first half.

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He now has 29 league goals to his name, having opened up a three-goal lead in the race to be crowned as the division’s Golden Boot winner.

Dorking's Alfie Rutherford  has now scored five National League South hat-tricks in 2021/22. Picture by Dave HainesDorking's Alfie Rutherford  has now scored five National League South hat-tricks in 2021/22. Picture by Dave Haines
Dorking's Alfie Rutherford has now scored five National League South hat-tricks in 2021/22. Picture by Dave Haines

Another ex-Hawks and Moneys striker, Jason Prior, gave Dorking a third minute lead against Concord. Rutherford then struck in the 13th, 18th and 32nd minutes as Wanderers opened up a 4-0 interval lead. He notched his fourth in the dying seconds of the second half.

Rutherford’s first hat-trick of the NLS season came on December 14 in a 4-2 win at then leaders Oxford City. In his next league outing, he collected another three goals – all in the first 35 minutes - as Dorking handed Hawks a club record 8-0 humiliation on Boxing Day.

Rutherford’s next treble came at Dulwich Hamlet on January 18 before netting his fourth in a 4-0 romp at Welling on Easter Monday.

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Saturday’s four-goal show against Concord meant that the player has netted back-to-back sixth tier hat-tricks on two occasions.

Rutherford – top scorer for Hawks in their 2018/19 National League relegation campaign - will be aiming for his third in a row, and his sixth of the campaign, when Dorking travel to St Albans next Saturday.

Dorking have now belted 96 goals, and with three games remaining look certain to become only the second club in NLS history to reach a century in one season.

The only other club to have achieved the milestone is Grays Athletic, who hammered 118 in 42 games en route to the title in 2004/05, the NLS’ first season.

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Dorking have netted 57 NLS goals at home, which is more than Hawks (54) have scored home and away combined. The next highest home total is Ebbsfleet (41).

Dorking are currently second favourites for the sole automatic promotion spot, lying four points adrift of Maidstone with just three games left.

While Wanderers have won 18 of their last 23 league games, the Stones have been equally consistent - winning 14 of their last 16 fixtures. And with Chelmsford, Welling and Hampton left, they look like being crowned champions.

That will mean Dorking entering the lottery of the play-offs, though with a passage through to the semi-finals and a home tie to come against the winners of the fifth v sixth place play-off.

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If the table finished as it currently stands, Hawks (7th) would travel to Dartford (4th) in the play-offs with Oxford City (5th) hosting Eastbourne (6th).

Hawks or Dartford would travel to Ebbsfleet (3rd) in one play-off semi, with Dorking hosting Oxford or Eastbourne in the other.

Whatever the final permutations, whoever finishes seventh will need to win three away games in the play-offs to win promotion.