A hat-trick is a rare thing; in November we barely managed three goals in a month, let alone a single game by a single player.
When they do happen, they delight and ensure a player’s name is written into history. I knew about Billy Cobb long before I knew anything of our history before I was born, all because of him bagging three goals in a game. On his debut, by the way. Go on, how many of you couldn’t tell which division we were in back in the sixties, but knew about Billy Cobb after he was referenced when Lee Angol hit a debut hat-trick? A few, I’d wager,
If you ever needed proof of the level of interest bagging three goals creates, since Chris Maguire bagged three against Sunderland, I’ve had emails, DMs and a tweet asking me to do an article on Imps hat-tricks. Therefore, I’ve had a look back, and here are all the Imps hat-tricks of the 21st Century. I’m not devaluing the exploits of players before 2000 by the way, I’m just short on time!
2022 – Chris Maguire v Sunderland (3-1)
Let’s start at the start, shall we? Chris Maguire grabbed the Imps’ most recent hat-trick against Sunderland this week. It did include a spot-kick, as well as two superb finishes to give us a 3-1 win. Of course, the celebration for his first grabbed the headlines.
2021 – Anthony Scully v Manchester United Under 21s (Papa John’s)
This was a really rare occurrence for City; a hat-trick that didn’t include a penalty. It might have been against United kids, but it underlines a degree of progression in Scully’s game, from ’12th man’ at times the season before to ‘absolute starter’ in many people’s eyes.
2021 – Brennan Johnson v MK Dons (4-0)
Last season, Brennan Johnson grabbed a hat-trick for the Imps as we downed MK Dons 4-0. Like Maguire’s, it included a penalty, but it was remarkable as it came in 11 minutes. Had there not been a retake of his orinignal spot-kick, it might have been the quickest Imps hat-trick on record.
2017 – Lee Angol v Braintree (4-0)
Hat-tricks under Danny Cowley were in short supply, but you wouldn’t have thought that with two in his first year as manager. The second went to Lee Angol, who bagged three on his debut against Braintree. Like the others, his third was a penalty.
2016 – Johnny Margetts v Southport (4-0)
Margetts had already bagged a hat-trick when he struck a late penalty to give us a 4-0 win against Southport. It was a bittersweet game in truth, because City would lose Margetts to Scunthorpe not long after his exploits. Oddly, this is probably the only game from history where an Imps player has bagged three or more, whilst an opposition player was sent off having previously scored a Lincoln hat-trick. Probably.
2015 – Liam Hearn v Macclesfield Town (5-3)
Whilst this was one of the first game in which we saw the ability of Matt Rhead for ourselves, it’s notable for Liam Hearn’s hat-trick. Hearn was a hell of a player, one I think could have fired us into the play-offs had he remained focused and firing. Trailing 2-0 after six minutes, Hearn had levelled it a 2-2 by 24, Rhead’s brace made it safe, with Hearn adding our fifth three minutes before coming off.
2015 – Matt Rhead v Whitehawk (3-5) FA Cup
Rhead might have been overshadowed by Liam Hearn in the Macclesfield game, but later in the year he impressed with a hat-trick of his own. One was a penalty, another a late consolation and it came in a game that was a giant-killing, but it was a triple, nonetheless.
2014 – Sean Newton v Alfreton Town (5-1) FA Cup
That’s right, you lot lumped him in with the worst signings we ever made, but Newton got a hat-trick, from left-back, as we beat Alfreton 5-1 in the FA Cup qualifying round. Okay, they had a midfielder in goal, but that’s not the point; Newton hit a penalty, and two free kicks, to send us to round one where Eastleigh knocked us out.
2014 – Ben Tomlinson v Halifax (3-1)
Say what you want about Ben Tomlinson; I liked him. He might have left under a bit of a cloud and you lot might not hold him in high regard, but he was a cracking player for us, and was often stuck out wide instead of through the centre, where he should have played. The final goal, a cheeky chip with the score 2-1 to City, was one to remember.
2013- Vadaine Oliver v Hyde (5-1)
Earlier versions have this hat trick missing, which was criminal. Big Vadiane’s treble on the final day of the season assured safety in the National League, and sparked hopes of a brighter future. As it was, results in other games meant the Imps could have lost the game and stayed up, but nobody knew that before the big man put three second-half goals away. For the record, Alan Power and Mo Fofana had already put us 2-0 up, before the one-man show ensured our result. Everything from this point onwards was an upwards trajectory.
2013 – Alan Power v Stalybridge Celtic (5-1) FA Trophy
This was probably more remarkable for the fact Marlon Jackson and Mo Fofana got on the scoresheet for City, but the hat-trick went to an Imps legend, Alan Power. He is a legend, whatever you think, as he served us diligently over our six years out of the Football League. One was a penalty, another a free-kick that might have been a cross, with the middle goal coming from open play. After winning 3-1 at Braintree in Round Two, North Ferriby beat us 4-0 at the Bank.
2013 – Colin Larkin v Dartford (4-2)
Whilst Larkin was well-known for scoring penalties, it might surprise you to hear this was a hat-trick of open play goals. His treble came in 21 first half minutes, and coupled with Dan Gray’s opener, gave us a 4- half time lead. The home side got back into the game, but only to make it a respectable scoreline.
2011 – Ashley Grimes v Stockport County (4-3)
You remember earlier I mentioned a Southport player getting sent off? That was Grimes, the loan star who almost kept us in the Football League. Almost. This was a remarkable game; Adam Watts scored for both sides, Grimes got his hat-trick with no penalties and at the end of the day, it didn’t matter as both sides were relegated.
2006 – Jamie Forrester v Rochdale (7-1)
Fans of a certain age will remember this afternoon with utter joy; they were lucky to get away with just seven. It was also Forrester’s third hat-trick of the season, a wonderful achievement for a top, top player. Enjoy.
2006 – Jamie Forrester v Barnet (5-0)
City didn’t win away at Barnet much; we lost 5-3 there one year after being 3-0 up in 25 minutes. That made this win even more special. It came in the same month that we beat Rochdale 7-1, and frankly had me dreaming of promotion to the third tier. We had to wait another 13 years, but the memories are still great!
2006 – Jamie Forrester v Mansfield (4-2)
This was another of those four-goal hauls, with two penalties and two neat finishes ensuring we took home all three points from Field Mill. Hat-tricks felt in short supply in the years after John Beck left. In 29 first-half minutes, we got one to savour. Just after half-time he joined the four-goal club to earn City a 4-2 win.
2005 – Simon Yeo v Grimsby (4-2)
Has there ever been a more perfect hat-trick? Two goals to put you two up against a local rival away from home, they pull two back and within a minute you complete the hat-trick and put your side 3-2 up, on course for a 4-2 win. I’m not sure it gets better than this.
2000 – Lee Thorpe v Morecambe (LDV Vans)
This game is more famous for being when Grant Brown broke Tony Emery’s appearance record, but it was also the first Imps’ hat trick of the 21st Century, courtesy of Lee Thorpe. If I recall correctly, it was a chilly night and at the time, Morecambe were a non-league team. They led 2-1 at one point, before two headers from Thorpe.