Sure-shot Smith's double debut blitz
Elliott Star 1 Buntingford Town 4 TOWN'S recent run of good performances continued in Shenley on Saturday with a dominant performance against Star. Boss Paul Attfield gave a debut to 22-year-old forward Carl Smith, who was previously at Ridgeons League
Elliott Star 1 Buntingford Town 4 TOWN'S recent run of good performances continued in Shenley on Saturday with a dominant performance against Star. Boss Paul Attfield gave a debut to 22-year-old forward Carl Smith, who was previously at Ridgeons League outfit Long Melford, and there was also a starting place for the returning Lee Ridings, one of the main stalwarts in the club's successes last season. Ridings, like the majority of his teammates, gave an impressive performance but it was Smith who took the plaudits with an early two-goal burst. Within two minutes he picked up a simple pass from John Bitting and hit a 20-yard shot towards goal. There seemed little danger but the ball went through the keeper's hands and into the net, to give Town the lead. This gave the visitors the impetus to push on and Smith fired just over from a Gary Christie pass and Ridings and Tom Wisson also had efforts just clear the crossbar. Despite Town's domination, the home side levelled on 21 minutes with their first chance on goal. The low lying sun caused havoc for Town's defence and from a lofted free kick into the box keeper Damion Williamson was briefly unsighted. He got a touch on the ball, which hit the back-tracking Ridings before trickling over the line. The goal was scrappy and a disappointing one to concede, but Town continued to take the game to Star and regained the lead five minutes later when an excellent left-wing cross from Bitting caused havoc between centre half and goalkeeper. Chris Smith reacted quickest to dispossess the centre half and roll the ball into the empty net for his second debut goal. Christie then had the chance to extend the lead when he ran clear of the home defence from Mark Smith's pass but his lob went the wrong side of the right-hand post. With Town's well-marshalled defensive unit in determined mood, Star created little else in the first half and Town's one-goal advantage set them up nicely for the second half. The visitor's really took the game to Star in the opening period of the second half, with some swift attacking football, and always looked a threat going forward with the pace of Carl Smith, George Garner, Bitting and Christie causing them problems. Three minutes after the break, a burst of pace into the box from Garner and a squared pass left Christie with the simplest of tap ins, but he mis-kicked and the ball was scrambled off the line. With Town's next attack, though, a comfortable two-goal margin was imposed on the game when Smith played Garner away down the right and his fine cross was met by Christie's eight-yard header, giving the keeper little chance. Smith then shot into the side netting and Bitting hit a 25-yard lob just over after the keeper had mis-kicked a clearance. However, a fourth goal always looked likely and it arrived on 61 minutes. Jamie Babbage picked the ball up on the edge of his own area and advanced some 50 yards with great pace and skill before sliding a through ball for Bitting to float a fine 20 yards strike over the advancing keeper and into the top right corner for an excellent breakaway goal. Williamson had his only other save to make on 65 minutes with a fine diving block from Alan Arthur's 15-yard strike but there was little else for him to do for the remainder of the game. Teenager Robbie Wilmott had Town's other best chances in the final ten minutes, when he shot just over from 18 yards and ran through on goal with the keeper saving well with his foot and the ball rolled agonisingly wide. Manager Paul Attfield was pleased with his side's performance: "I feel this scoreline has been coming for a while now. "We've looked a little more ruthless in front of goal the last couple of games and tighter as a defensive unit which obviously is the required tonic for gaining victories. "Confidence is definitely improving throughout the team, which is a very important factor going into a period of four very tough games." Town: D Williamson, J Babbage, D Chaffey, D Easley, M Smith, L Ridings, T Wisson (D Cain), G Garner (T Jarman), G Christie (R Wilmott), C Smith, J Bitting - Town travel to runaway league leaders Whitewebbs on Saturday.