MELKSHAM Town manager Dave Clayton has hailed his strike force after front man Dan Kovacs starred in last weekend’s win over Winterbourne United.

Kovacs had to cope without the support of usual strike partner Gary Higdon, who was unavailable, but bagged himself a hat-trick as Melksham got themselves back to winning ways.

In last week’s FA Vase loss to Horndean, Higdon also got on the scoresheet three times and the pair have now netted 17 times in a combined 20 appearances so far this season.

“There was a bit more responsibility on Dan Kovacs because Gary Higdon wasn’t there but he obviously did really well,” said Clayton.

“They’ve both been on form for about 18 months now and you hear whispers that people think they could probably both play at a slightly higher level, but they both want to play for their hometown club and that’s great. Myself or the club never had any official approaches from any higher level clubs for either of them.

“We are lucky to have them and the nice thing is that they’re both good lads who haven’t got an ego between them.”

Around 26 minutes in, the visitors were reduced to 10 men after Shaun Benison headed goalwards from Tom Robinson’s corner and a Winterbourne defender handled the effort on the line.

Kovacs stepped up and dispatched the spot-kick to put Melksham in front.

Shortly before the hour mark, Dave Macey floated a free-kick into the area and Kovacs headed in his second of the game. Then with 72 minutes on the clock, Dan Griffiths drove forward down the wing and pulled the ball back to striker Kovacs, who smashed in his third of the afternoon.

Winterbourne did pull a goal back through Ben Dowdell with just under 10 minutes to go.

Clayton added: “We had lost three games in a row so it was nice to get a win under our belts again.

“I did feel that once they went down to 10 men, we did take them a bit too lightly but once we scored the second, the fight went out of them.

“It was nice to have a few cup games in the last few weeks and we’ve probably put a bit more money in the coffers from those FA competitions than was expected, but you want to be back doing something that you have a chance of being successful in.”

Higdon is set to return when Melksham host Bishop Sutton tomorrow.