Jon Grey | Al-Hamadi hat-trick testament to his determination
Swansea City Under-23s coach Jon Grey paid tribute to Ali Al-Hamadi after the young forward’s hat-trick in the victory over Charlton Athletic.
Al-Hamadi bagged his first treble for the development side as they twice came from behind to see off the in-form Addicks at Princes Park.
The Iraqi-born forward equalised on two occasions in the Professional Development League South encounter – drilling home a fine effort from the edge of the area, before calmly converting a penalty.
He then completed his hat-trick with a neat finish in the final 10 minutes as Grey’s side recorded their first victory in nine attempts.
It has been a tough time for Al-Hamadi. This was only his second appearance – and first 90 minutes – since returning after spending the best part of four months on the sidelines with a pars fracture in his back.
After making his comeback in last week’s draw with Queens Park Rangers, the first-year pro, who also found the net in the 5-1 rout of Cardiff on the opening day of the season, took his tally for the season to four goals.
“I’m delighted for Ali. He’s a fantastic lad and it’s good to get him back on the pitch,” Grey said.
“He’s been frustrated not to be on the pitch through injury.
“There was nothing he could do apart from rest and allow the injury to heal itself.
“It’s testament to him that he’s worked his socks off to get back to full fitness and then gone and scored a hat-trick.
“He took his goals really well and hopefully, there’s more to come from him between now and the end of the season.”
The under-23s coach also highlighted the performance of 15-year-old Ben Lloyd.
The under-16s midfielder, who marked his debut with the equaliser against QPR, continued his bright start to development football; providing the assist for Al-Hamadi’s third goal with a neat through ball that carved open the Charlton defence.
Having only introduced him on the hour mark, Grey has been delighted with the strides that Lloyd has made in such a short space of time.
“We’re really pleased with the impact Ben’s made,” he added.
“He’s only 15, but he’s taken to under-23s football like a duck to water.
“He scored the equaliser last week and set up what proved to be the winner this week.
“We’re trying to give him little cameos because we didn’t think it would be right to put him straight into the starting line-up.
“He’s got a fantastic work ethic; he plays with no fear, gets on the ball and has a good eye for a pass and goal.”