Oxhey Jets Vets v Reserves, 14 Aug 2021 (League)
Buntingford Won 3-1
A hat-trick for Chas Bailey
After a less than inspiring pre season campaign, Town Reserves travelled away to Oxhey Vets Jets, taking with them a largely familiar squad from last season with only the addition of young players Robbie Rutter and Jacob Burgum who joined the club this summer.
There were starts for stalwarts like Ryan Bailey, Sid Arnold, Alex West, Luke Sloan, Chas Bailey and Toby Grieves and Bunt started the game brightly on a decent if not rather fluffy surface at The Boundary Stadium.
Town enjoyed some early possession and began to find their feet and after 8 minutes good build-up play ended with Ayo producing a deep cross which just eluded Chas and Robbie in the middle.
More good build-up play on 12 mins found that man Ayo again but a wicked bobble just as he struck the ball from 12 yards out saw the ball fly high over the bar.
Town were really in the ascendancy now and this time a lovely turn and curling effort from Chas resulted in their keeper going full length to palm the ball over.
Without a breakthrough in the first 15 minutes Town struggled to continue their dominance, and Oxhey grew into the game without posing too much of a threat.
Jacob Burgum made his debut after 25 mins when Sid Arnold pulled a hammy.
Playing a classic big man/small man combo up front Oxhey struggled to create much, all too often finding themselves isolated from their midfield, Town too often however losing possession cheaply and presenting the home side with the chance to try again.
Town lacked the quality to play a decent final ball and ended the half restricted to one low strike by Robbie from distance on 43 mins.
A half time sort out left everyone in agreement that we could and should be playing much better and the reaction was evident straight away.
George Bower in goal made way for Ewan to play the 2nd 45.
Almost immediately a good build up found Alex West on 47 but his low curler went just wide after Chas had cut the ball back.
Westy came close with a low curler
Despite enjoying possession for good spells a few changes were needed and on 60 minutes Tom Turner and James Parkins replaced Ayo and Luke.
The breakthrough Bunt deserved came on 69, Alex Hewer's through ball found Jacob who had been pushed forward, and his ball in turn found Chas who beat the 'keeper to the ball and was hacked down.
Chas stepped up confidently and put Town ahead from the spot.
Kaps had put in a great shift and was replaced by Ross Murphy; within 2 minutes Ross played in Jacob and his excellent low cross was turned in from 5 yards out again by Chas.
Town were bossing now and Chas picked out Alex Hewer whose dipping drive on 75 tested the 'keeper from 25 yards.
Town put the game to bed when Chas twisted and turned in the box and despite being fouled still managed to smash the ball into the bottom corner.
Sadly the ref had blown for the penalty but that didn't deter Chas who completed his hatrick with his second penalty strike on 80 mins.
Oxhey Vets now showed their frustration and gamesmanship by engaging in some rather questionable behaviour in the Town box at a corner, resulting in a large brawl; once it was all sorted they managed to get themselves a goal when the ball found its way through a crowd and struck a player in the face before spinning into the bottom corner.
There was a degree of nervousness about Town in the closing minutes but they were good value for their 3 points.
Solid performances from Kaps, Westy, Ryan and Toby along with huge shifts from Robbie and Chas up front were highlights.
A rare opening day win for the Ressies and something to really build on now.