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League Two

Scott Hogan is Rochdale's hat-trick hero

1 March 2014

Rochdale assistant Chris Beech hailed hat-trick hero Scott Hogan after the striker bagged a treble in the 3-0 win against fellow promotion hopefuls Oxford United at Spotland.

Hogan made it 19 goals for the season as Dale moved four points clear of fourth place in Sky Bet League Two to strengthen their bid for automatic promotion.

Beech believes the forward has been a different man since the transfer window closed. Hogan turned down a move to Peterborough and was linked with a host of clubs during January. It unsettled the 21-year-old and his form suffered as a result. But he has been in red hot form since the window closed.

"It was Scott's second hat-trick since the transfer window closed and it's amazing what he's done since the end of January," said Beech. "He has concentrated and he has been committed since his mind has been clear and it has been evident in his performances."

Despite earning some breathing space between themselves and the play-off places, Beech insisted nobody in the Rochdale camp would be getting carried away.

He added: "There is no big drama, it's three points from one game of football and there are 13 games left. We know what we want to do but we have no right to get that, we have to earn the right to get it.

"We rode our luck a little bit with the chance Oxford had at the back post when Josh Lillis made the save and their lad missed the rebound. But we started to wear Oxford down as the first half went on."

The U's missed the first clear chance of the game in the 21st minute when John Mullins screwed a shot wide of the unguarded goal from four yards.

The visitors paid for that wasted chance when Jamie Allen lifted a cross to the back post for Peter Vincenti, and his header was forced over the line by Hogan on 43 minutes.

Four minutes into the second half Hogan doubled his tally after a slalom run into the Oxford area. His hat-trick came in the 62nd minute when he scuffed Michael Rose's free-kick into the corner of the net.

Oxford caretaker boss Mickey Lewis thought it was just one of those days.

"We were up against a good side today and they played very well - I thought their centre forward was excellent," he said of Hogan.

"We've had one of those days where nothing went right for us. We had a good chance in the first half to go a goal up and then we switched off just before half-time from a throw-in and they have scored from it.

"I thought we'd kept it pretty tight up until that point, even though they are a really useful side. We made two mistakes in the second half, lost the ball and Rochdale are very good on the counter attack and made us pay. The game was dead for the last 20 minutes."

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