Attfield’s happy as Town run goes to 10
Hatfield Town 1 Buntingford Town 3 PAUL ATTFIELD S men won an important top-of-the-table clash on Saturday and stretched their unbeaten run to 10 matches. The visitors, on the back of an impressive run of form swapped places with their hosts to go third
Hatfield Town 1 Buntingford Town 3
PAUL ATTFIELD'S men won an important top-of-the-table clash on Saturday and stretched their unbeaten run to 10 matches.
The visitors, on the back of an impressive run of form swapped places with their hosts to go third in the league in a game they had all but won in the opening 25 minutes.
Buntingford opened their account after just 24 seconds, stunning the home side with one of the quickest goals of the season.
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Hatfield failed to clear Mark Smith's long ball from kick-off, and when winger Jan Stephen's cross was skewed into the path of Mark Wright, the Buntingford striker made no mistake with virtually his first touch of the ball.
This gave the visitors the impetus to pressure and two minutes later Wright muscled his way through on goal, only to snatch the ball wide from 16 yards when a second goal looked certain.
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Hatfield were tidy in possession, but very rarely got behind a well-organised Buntingford defence of Lewis Endacott, Duncan Easley, Jamie Babbage, and Dean Chaffey.
Throughout the game Buntingford always looked the most likely to score, with their direct approach play and build-up down the flanks. And on the 17-minute mark they doubled their lead, thanks to Luke Robins.
When Endacott's throw was flicked on by Will Turl, Robins reacted the quickest with a well-timed angled drive from 10 yards out.
Seven minutes later, Wright again powered his way past a defender and his cross was turned past his own keeper by Richard Cooke at the near post.
The powerful front man then had another shot hacked off the line, following a goalmouth scramble.
The three-goal cushion remained intact at the interval, and in the second half Hatfield came out the stronger, as they looked to get themselves back into the game.
Damion Williamson made a brave diving block at the feet of a Hatfield attacker, and those in front of him always looked in control.
At the other end, Stephen's half-volley ratted an upright.
Minutes later, Hatfield reduced the arrears after Endacott fouled his opposing striker, and the resulting penalty was squeezed through Williamson's hands.
The goal inspired Buntingford and they gained much of the territorial advantage throughout the remainder of the match.
Matt Turl blasted over from 10 yards when well placed, and substitute Kenny Poulter ran through on goal in the closing stages, but was denied by a fine save by the Hatfield keeper.
Buntingford manager Paul Attfield said: "I'm delighted with the result, and the attitude and commitment from all the players lately has made us a very hard to team to play against.
"I would like to think that we have a realistic chance of achieving something this season, and if we can continue this form and keep everyone fit, there is no reason to doubt that.
"The pitch wasn't easy to play good football on, so we had to adjust our tactics to our normal passing game, and the players executed want we wanted perfectly and the end result was fully deserved on the day."
Buntingford: D Williamson, L Endacott (J Hollingsworth), D Chaffey, J Babbage, D Easley, M Turl, M Smith, J Stephens (L Beaumont), W Turl, M Wright (K Poulter), L Robins