Why Conor Washington has been playing in dirty boots

“If I clean my boots I will wash the goals out of them,” said St Ives Town’s prolific striker Conor Washington, before scoring another four at Daventry United in Northamptonshire on Saturday.

“They haven’t been clean for some time,” he told The Hunts Post.

It has been an astonishing season for former Needingworth Colts player who will turn 20 later this month. Those four goals shot him straight to the top of the United Counties Premier Division’s golden boot table.

Having scored 48 goals in 48 appearances this season, Washington has shaken off the competition of Russ Dunkley at Long Buckby and Jason Turner at King’s Lynn Town to top the division’s goalscorers’ table and win the league’s golden boot award.

Now St Ives, who will finish the season in third place behind those two clubs, will face a fight to keep hold of their star man during the summer.

“Jez Hall and Warren Everdell gave me my chance when I was 16,” Washington told The Hunts Post. “It’s refreshing to be playing for managers who are willing to give young players a chance. They have done it again this season with Max Roberts, he was brilliant when asked to stand in for the captain Lee Ellison in midfield against Stewarts & Lloyds.

“I’m sure there were those with reservations but he was outstanding that day and scored a great goal.”

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Joint manager Everdell was Washington’s coach at school when he was 10. After the Needingworth team he was playing for became a St Ives Rangers team, the striker found himself playing for the club’s under-18s. It was then that the two managers spotted his potential.

Now Football League scouts are sniffing around - but Washington says that hasn’t affected his game. “Once I cross that line on to the pitch it is all about the three points,” he said. “I don’t really think about anything else.

“The whole squad has had that attitutude this season and that’s why we have done so well. We are a real team at St Ives.

“To be closing in on 90 points with a game to go and to not be challenging at the top is crazy. But this season has been absolutely brilliant.”

As well as finishing in its highest position ever, the club also had its best ever run in the FA Vase, reaching the quarter finals of the national competition before disappointingly losing 3-0 to Stavely Miners Welfare on the outskirts of Chesterfield.

Last week, with a handful of games still left to play, the managers decided to dip into the under-18s pool again to get through the crowded run-in. But with that third place already cemented, Hall and Everdell will have taken the 6-0 midweek defeat at Newport Pagnell Town with a pinch of salt. That result put an end to an eight-game winning run, but on Saturday, at Daventry, Washington and a few of the other big fish were back and, in his dirty boots, the young striker scored goals number 10, 11, 12 and 13 of April. There was also a rare headed goal for Jamie Alsop, and one for experienced ex-pro Juniour McDougald. “Conor was sensational,” said Hall. “He ripped them apart.”

St Ives were supposed to play their last game of the season on Monday, but for the third time in two weeks Stewarts & Lloyds had to postpone because of their persistently waterlogged pitch. That game will now take place after Friday’s massive Hunts Senior Cup against Godmanchester Rovers ... and the final of the United Counties Premier Cup against King’s Lynn the following Monday.

There’s still time then, to see Washington in his dirty boots - and playing for the club he loves.