ROY Cardus bagged a fine hat-trick to steer Malpas into the semi-finals of the Ethelston Cup at Haughmond on Saturday.
He gave Malpas a dream start with a goal in the opening minute after the home goalkeeper could only parry his initial shot, but after that Haughmond put them under pressure and goal-keeper Mel Sutton had to punch clear from under his bar before Tim Clarke cleared.
Malpas were more positive in the second half and dominated the game.
On 55 minutes Stuart Musgrave, who had got lost on his way to the ground and arrived 10 minutes late, had a shot half saved and Cardus followed up for his second goal.
Musgrave went on to miss two more excellent chances, but was unlucky when his shot hit the stanchion at the back of the goal before the ball came back into play.
The officials failed to realise the ball had crossed the line and waved play-on.
Malpas were undaunted and Cardus completed his hat-trick in the 75th minute.
Manager Tommy Lloyd said: 'It's good to have something to look forward to toward the end of the season.
'It takes some of the league pressure off us.'
Malpas go to big rivals Whitchurch Alport tomorrow, with Jack Oakden, who was ineligible for the Ethelston Cup, back in the squad.