Plaudits piled on class act Jack

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Hat-trick hero Jack Lester passed a significant milestone when runaway League Two leaders Chesterfield FC pulverised promotion rivals Rotherham United.

The ‘Millers Massacre’ was a tremendous victory and the magnificent treble took Lester’s personal goal tally for the season to 14.

It also elevated him to seventh place in the all-time Spireites League scoring list.

Prior to the Friday evening annihilation, Lester was level with legendary 1930s goal machine Harry Clifton who netted 67 times in 121 league appearances.

But veteran striker Lester eclipsed Clifton’s splendid record with a brilliant solo effort in the first minute of time added on at the end of the first-half.

The 35-year-old hitman netted twice in two minutes late in the second half to complete Rotherham’s humiliation.

The hat-trick feat – Lester’s second of 2011 – earned the striker a place in the Football League’s Team of the Week, alongside defender Dean Holden whose diving header began Friday evening’s rout.

And there was thunderous applause from the record crowd of 10,089 at the B2net – and loud chants of ‘There’s only one Jack Lester’ – when the player was replaced by Kieran Djilali with four minutes remaining.

Manager John Sheridan praised his star man.

He said: “Jack has energy around him. I do not expect him to run around all the match but he is very clever.

“When he gets in there, he can find half a yard. He’s the best in the division at that.

“I would love him to be 27 or 28 – I could get a lot of money for him!

“I try to look after him. He’s a good pro and he trains very well. I’ve told him to come to me if he needs a rest.

“He’s top drawer for us, a massive player.’’

The ‘P’ word – promotion – is not mentioned at the B2net despite the club being a whopping 13 points clear at the top and favourites to clinch the title, but overly-cautious talk is beginning to soften.

Even before kick off on Friday, Lester admitted the club was ‘getting close’ while Sheridan said afterwards that he had told his players to enjoy a ‘nice weekend’.

The manager said: “The time will come when we can celebrate – but until then we just have to carry on and keep our feet on the ground.’’

Friday evening’s trouncing was beamed around the world live on Sky Sports and proved such a crushing blow for Rotherham that the club parted company with its manager Ronnie Moore three days later.

On Tuesday, the Millers were back at the B2net for a reserve clash which they won 2-0.

The match saw a return to action for Blues defender Simon Ford who has been sidelined with a calf injury since the 2-0 win at Lincoln last month. In the second half, Rotherham brought on their top scorer Adam Le Fondre and key midfielder Nicky Law.

Chesterfield travel south on Saturday for a League Two game at relegation-threatened Barnet. The match kicks off at 6pm.