SHAUN COPP is playing football with a smile on his face again.
With five goals in three appearances since rejoining Appledore from Ilfracombe Town, the forward has made an instant impact.
On Saturday, his hat-trick in the second half wrapped up a 3-0 win over Exeter University in the Carlsberg South West Peninsula League.
Keith Shapland's team remain unbeaten in Division One East and look capable of breaking into the top three this season.
After finding first-team opportunities limited at Ilfracombe, Copp is happy to be back at Marshford.
"Shappy has said, 'Enjoy your football'," he said. "He tells all the lads to get the ball down and express ourselves and confidence comes from that.
"I'm enjoying my football again. I didn't really have a regular run last year and it's good to be playing every week.
"I'm just glad to be scoring. It's been a while since I had a run like this."
The 24-year-old marked his debut with a free kick against Totnes and Dartington, then scored in the midweek win at Okehampton Argyle.
In his previous spell at Appledore, Copp reached the Devon Premier Cup final twice in three years.
He scored in the 2-1 defeat to Totnes in 2008 and returned to Tiverton two years later for the 5-3 extra-time win over the Royal Marines.
Playing just behind Greg Holland, the main striker, Copp found plenty of space against the students in Saturday's convincing win.
After kick-off was delayed by 15 minutes because of Exeter's late arrival, the home side were almost caught cold.
Darren Rose, the goalkeeper, showed smart reactions to tip over a stinging shot from Matt Judge in the first minute.
That was the last time Rose was called into action as Appledore took control.
Copp crossed to the far post where Seth Hodorowski bundled his effort wide.
Hodorowski then went in bravely with the goalkeeper only to see his header loop over.
For all Appledore's neat possession in midfield, they did not test Nat Slack in the University goal nearly enough.
Shapland demanded a change in the second half with a shoot-on-sight policy.
Copp blasted over from long range and James Marsh had a goal-bound effort blocked before the breakthrough finally arrived.
A cross from Sam Fishwick was helped on by Will Marsland and Copp reacted sharply to sweep home from close range.
Ten minutes later the match was effectively over as Copp scored his second after good work from Adam Copp in midfield.
The forward shifted the ball on to his left foot and beat Slack with a low, left-footed strike.
"My second goal was a bit of a snapshot and a couple of months ago I maybe would have passed it," said Copp.
By that stage Appledore were full of confidence but there was a warning against complacency as Myles Blinkinsop met a free kick from Matt Langley and looped a header onto the bar.
Jamie Frickleton kept things in order at the back and the Appledore captain went close to his first goal of the season when Slack saved his header at a corner.
In stoppage time, after tricky work from Brian Levien on the wing, a penalty for handball gave Copp the chance to round off his hat-trick.